Jesus Rodriguez continues work on a mural in DownTown Park Forest Sunday. (Photo: ENEWSPF)
Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Jesus Rodriguez continued work late Sunday evening on the mural on the Cultural Arts Building in DownTown Park Forest. The building houses the Tall Grass Arts Association, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Illinois Theatre Center. The 1200+ square foot painting, to be dedicated Wednesday, depicts people considered noteworthy to the three organizations.
Those depicted include Steve and Etel Billig, founders of the Illinois Theatre Center, Carmon DeLeone, conductor of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Jim and Mary Lou Marzuki, representing Tall Grass Arts Association, John Goodrich, Valerie Nicholson, Mel Muchnik, Ginny Burd, Bob Brooks, Judy Rossignuolo-Rice, Barbara Moore, Candi Kleindorfer, Fritz Wildermuth, and Carolyn Bolling.
Rodriguez, 36, was selected by a search committee that began its work in August, 2007. The $15,000 for the mural was part of the 2007-08 budget, according to Director of Economic Development and Planning Hildy Kingma.
“The first job was to go out and seek an artist,” Kingma said. The committee was comprised of representatives from the IPO, ITC, Tall Grass, some DownTown business owners and two staff members, including Ms. Kingma. Staff members served in an organizational capacity, Kingma said.
Kingma said there is money in the current fiscal year budget to do another mural. She expects to convene another committee. One of the possible walls for the new project is along Founder’s Way.
Village Manager Tom Mick commended the work of the committee, “The challenge is how to take some of our buildings in our DownTown and enhance attractiveness. This is part of creating an overall sense of place in DownTown Park Forest.”
Seventeen artists responded to the Call for Artists, Kingma said. She says the Friends of Community Public Art in Joliet recommend $75 a square foot for a project of this magnitude.
Rodriguez says the average is usually between $45 and $50 a square foot. At $15,000, the current project averages close to $12 a square foot. Artists were aware of the amount the village had budgeted for the job when they bid.
A native of Morelia, Mich, Mexico, Rodriguez has done murals in Joliet and across the country. He completed studies at American Academy of Art, Chicago in 1994. Some of his other creations available here:
- The Honor and Responsibility of Fatherhood (1996)
- Gompers Brotherhood (1998)
- La Herencia Mexicana: Mexican Heritage (1999)
- We Must Remember (2000)
- Mexican Mural Heritage Inspiring Joliet Murals (2000)
- Sesquicentennial of Joliet's Fire Department 1852-2002 (2001)
The artist says graffiti is usually not an issue with this type of work, “Usually people don’t really write on murals and stuff.”
Kissing murals might be another issue, however. Rodriguez relates that he painted a mural in Joliet that drew a unique response, “I guess I made the kids kind of funny looking. So, girls were actually kissing the portrait. That was kind of funny.” He said people discovered lipstick on the mural.
The dedication for the mural will take place this Wednesday, July 30, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Four bronze plaques honoring Philip Klutznick, Carroll Sweet and Nathan Manilow will also be installed.
According to Kingma, 60 people have already sent an RSVP for the dedication. Residents are welcome to attend.