Local artist’s mural turns sore spot into the pride of the neighborhood

CHICAGO — What was once considered an eyesore by many neighbors is quickly becoming the pride of a neighborhood.

"Art changes things and communities and gives a whole different energy to a street corner," said Franke Payne, South East Chicago Chamber of Commerce. "It means a lot."

For six years the corner of 79th and East End depicted a mural some Avalon Park residents found offensive. This week it was washed, painted and replaced with a fresh new mural by Max Sansing, who grew up in the neighborhood as a kid.

Sansing is now a highly sought after muralist, so when he was approached by South Shore United Block Club, Alderman Michelle Harris and the South East Chicago Chamber of Commerce, he jumped at the chance to put his mark back on the streets he called home.

(Original mural by street artist Don't Fret)

"To be able to put artwork in areas where I used to catch the bus and go to school, feels amazing. It was my chance to reinforce the idea of community and family and how it's at the center of the neighborhood," Sansing said.

Every face on his mural is one of someone that currently lives in Avalon Park. It is also one of his most colorful and largest to date.

"I know a lot of times we get portrayed as certain things, and I wanted to reinforce we could be larger than life," Sansing said.

There will be a formal dedication to the new mural at 79th and East End next week.