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49th Ward Chicago Mural Competiton Winners

September 2, 2010

Call me Miguel… because the salutation on the rejection I received letter read “Dear Miguel,” so he didn’t win either.  [Sorry, bro; convo me, we’ll get a beer.] I was secretly hoping for some good mural karma from the days I spent doing fill colors for other people as an unpaid volunteer.   I was pretty bummed out for a while; I really need the work.

There was an nice upside to this competition in that two pairs of murals wound up  pulling in an equal number of votes, so the budget was expanded to a total of 13 winners instead of the expected 12.

Here is a slideshow of all 24 semi-finalists’ entries: 


This is the list of the winners and tally of the votes:


I knew I was taking a risk with a big, colorful abstract concept.  People tend to incorrectly believe that works like the one I proposed take less skill to execute than a painting with identifiable, realistic or stylized realism as sources of subject matter.  Also, I assumed myself to be up against the absolute most common subject matter for any city mural: images of people, and there were a lot of those.  Images of buildings tend to also be very common in mural proposals, so you usually get a ton of “people-and-buildings = city” submissions.  I counted human or building images in more than half of the 24 semi-finalist submissions.  This competition leaned toward pretty nature things, which is nice and the general public usually goes for.  I was surprised to see a word art piece make it into the semi-finals; usually people need an art background to appreciate text and word based works.

The mural of birch trees was the outstanding favorite.

                    “Let’s Bring the Birch Trees Back to Rogers Park“ (#14), Joanna White

Of the winners, my three favorites are these:

                                          “United We Flow” (#10), Jason Brammer

                             “Tribute to the Fish of Lake Michigan” (#1), Amanda Paulson

                                               “Interrelations” (#16), Jose Andreu

I’m just eclectic that way.  Overall, there is a nice mix of different styles that was selected.  Rogers Park is going to be looking better for years to come.

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