Cook County Mural Renaissance

The Cook County Mural Renaissance: Celebrating 60 Years of the War on Poverty is an initiative born out of the desire to illuminate the enduring impact of the Community Action Movement, which was sparked by the signing of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. This landmark legislation marked the beginning of a nationwide effort to eradicate poverty and empower the underserved.

The core purpose of this project is to visually narrate the transformative journey of communities uplifted through the support of programs like CEDA, underlining the profound essence of the Community Action Promise. This promise, centered on changing lives, embodying hope, improving communities, and enhancing the fabric of America, serves as the thematic backbone of our mural project.

By engaging local street artists, we aim to translate the intangible spirit of community action into tangible art, showcasing how this support has sculpted the landscape of low-income communities across Chicagoland. These murals will serve as vibrant tapestries, weaving together stories of resilience, unity, and progress, from the influential figures like nurturing grandmothers and dedicated home daycare providers to the broader themes of hope and the promise of a brighter future.

In essence, the Chicago Mural Renaissance seeks not only to celebrate the historical milestones but also to offer a platform for artistic expressions that encapsulate what community action support has signified for individuals and neighborhoods alike. Through this visual dialogue, we aspire to honor the legacy of the Community Action Movement, reflecting on its pivotal role in fostering self-help, communal solidarity, and the ongoing quest for social justice and equity.


What We Are Looking For:

  1. Community Inspiration: Artists who can draw upon personal experiences, local heroes, or significant events within their communities that resonate with the ideals of the Community Action Promise. We are interested in works that reflect on how community action programs have fostered change, hope, and solidarity within their neighborhoods.
  2. Artistic Expression: Individuals capable of filling an 8’x8′ canvas with artwork that not only captivates visually but also touches the very core of humanity. We seek pieces that communicate powerful messages of resilience, unity, and empowerment, stirring emotions and provoking thought among viewers.
  3. Youth Engagement: Young artists who can bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table, showcasing the vibrancy and potential of the next generation in driving social change through art.
  4. One-Day Commitment: The chosen artists must be prepared to complete their murals within a single day at a specified location, which will be announced in due course. This intensive, one-day event will highlight the dynamism and capability of our young artists to create impactful art under time constraints.
  5. Collaborative Planning: Selected artists will be asked to provide a detailed list of required supplies in advance, which CEDA will review for approval. Additionally, artists are required to submit a rendering or conceptual sketch of their proposed mural. This step ensures that the final artworks align with the project’s goals and adhere to the overarching theme of celebrating community action and its transformative impact.

Through this project, we aim to create a platform for young artists to showcase their talents, while also paying homage to the enduring legacy of community action in shaping stronger, more resilient communities. We believe that art has the power to transcend barriers, illuminate shared values, and inspire collective action towards a brighter, more equitable future.

  • Residency: Must be a resident of Cook County.
  • Age Requirement: Must be at least 16 years old at the time of application.
  • Application Closes: May 31, 2024
  • Artist Selected and Notified: June 14, 2024
  • Painting Dates: Date will be assigned between August 12, 2024 – August 16, 2024
  • Dates May Change
  • Location: TBD