Park District, Chicago Conservation Center Restore Murals
The Chicago Park District is working with The Chicago Conservation Center to restore murals in field houses across the city in a collaborative project known as the Mural Preservation Effort.
These murals are a reflection of the history of each park as well as the history of the time period in which the murals were created, said Timothy J. Mitchell, the general superintendent of the Chicago Park District. By preserving these murals, we are preserving a piece of history for future generations to enjoy.
The Chicago Conservation Center worked with Julia Bachrach, the Chicago Park Districts historian, to identify murals painted between 1916 and 1941 that were in need of restoration. The 58 murals that were chosen were based on their need for conservation and their historical significance to both Chicago history and national history.
The murals targeted for preservation were painted during both the Progressive Era and the New Deal Era, artistic periods that embraced the ideals of social justice including the consequence of industrialism for workers, issues of urban housing, child labor, and womens rights. The preservation of these murals ensures the continued recognition of these programs and the ideals that nourished them.
The $376,000 Mural Preservation Effort kicked off in May 2004 and is currently in its second phase. The project is jointly funded by the park district and The Chicago Conservation Center. The Conservation Center raised its share, $188,000, through a combination of private, corporate and foundation support.
The support we have received for this project has been tremendous, coming from all areas including private donors, LaSalle Bank, The Terra Foundation for American Art, the Alphawood Foundation and the Driehaus Foundation among many others, said Megan Ann Jones, Vice President of Client Services for The Chicago Conservation Center.
We live in a city with more public murals than any other in America because Chicago was at the forefront in supporting mural arts in the early part of the 20th Century, she said. With the support we have received for this effort, it is clear we continue to lead the way in ensuring their preservation for future generations.