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In this article, John Weber considers pioneering Chicano artist Ray Patlán’s work with teenagers creating a mural in a Latino neighborhood of Chicago during the summer of 1971. The youths were part of the Community Mural Project that, beginning in 1970 in that city, involved artists, street gang members, mothers, church activists, neighborhood leaders, and people of all kind of backgrounds in the creation of more than sixty murals. They were painted on buildings, stores, schools, and clinics in black, Latino, and white working-class neighborhoods. The true genesis of the project, nevertheless, was based from the work of Bill Walker and the Organization for Black American Culture in the late 1960s, the latter, a group of artists who sought to relate art directly and meaningfully to the black community. The Community Mural Project maintained this same ideal of community-based art, creating murals that, as time went by, became inseparable from the Chicago neighborhoods in which they were painted, thus representing both community pride and community identity.


This text by the Chicago-based muralist and activist John Weber appeared in September 1972 in Youth Magazine, published by the United Church Press in New York. It brings to the fore that one goal of the Community Mural Project was to generate a sense of community. Moreover, it is notable that Weber concludes his article with suggestions for how readers could engage in mural painting themselves.

Victor Alejandro Sorell, Gabrielle Toth; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA