Local Artists Paint Black Lives Matter Mural On Oak Park Street

Mike Krauser
June 25, 2020 - 12:57 pm

OAK PARK, ILL. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Some young artists and activists in Oak Park are working on painting a giant Black Lives Matter mural on a freshly-paved street. 

It's being done on Scoville Avenue between Lake Street and North Boulevard, site of the farmer's market on Saturdays and across the street from Oak Park and River Forest High School.

The colorful mural taking shape is 130-feet long and 12-feet wide.  

“People, when they walk by here, can know this is where we stand as a community and this is a welcoming place.  We wanted it to be as colorful as possible because we wanted to portray Oak Park as a very colorful community, with people of all shapes, sizes, races and backgrounds here,” explained Cullen Benson, who's behind the project.

Benson used social media to see if the community would get behind his idea and he said, "the community had an unbelievable amount of positive energy toward this."

He tapped activist and artist Cortlyn Kelly to manage the project.

She said of the 18 volunteers helping do the work,  "we really wanted to incorporate people of color in our community, and young people of color.  That was really important."

Artist Franka Del Santo designed the mural.

"I really like bursts of color," she said, "something that looks eye-catching and just like a vortex."

Both women said this should have been done long ago.  

Kelly said they're proud to be the first in Illinois to do something like this.  

Cullen Benson said that's a point of pride for him, too.

The city blocked off the street for the project, which started on Wednesday and is expected to be completed in time for an unveiling on Saturday.