The owners of a North Avenue small business hope that a three-part window mural speaks to the diversity of Oak Park and Galewood.
The window mural was recently installed outside of LifeSpan Counseling and Psychological Services at 6645 W. North Ave.
Local artist Kasey Grealis created the mural for LifeSpan as a contribution to the North Avenue District’s ongoing North Art Bridge project. The project aims to revitalize North Avenue and bring Galewood and Oak Park together through public art, according to North Art Bridge’s goal statement.
The three part mural, titled “Collective Healing, Diversity and Community” will reside in LifeSpan’s window for the foreseeable future.
The North Avenue District chose to collaborate with LifeSpan for the Bridge’s second mural project because not only do they value diversity and unity, but North Avenue is referred to by some as the “Medical Mile,” said Judith Alexander, chairwoman of the North Avenue District Inc.
Because the street is popular for its multiple medical facilities, she said it seemed appropriate to choose a major mental health service that helps heal residents of the community.
“When you heal people, you heal the community,” Alexander said.
LifeSpan Owners Orson and Keri Morrison said Grealis asked for their values during the process of creating the mural.
“We value diversity in all forms, we value community,” Orson said. “And we know that true healing and true wellness doesn’t occur in isolation. It occurs in the context of relationships, connection and community.”
Inspired by those three words, Grealis created three parts to the mural: the first being “Collective Healing,” then “Diversity” and lastly “Community.” Grealis started the mural process in February and completed the mural on July 15.
Grealis gathered inspiration for the “Collective Healing” part of the mural from the dancers of the Xochitl-Quetzal Danza Azteca and Najwa Dance Corps, who recently performed in Chicago, according to Grealis’ artist statement. In their performance, the dancers encouraged collective healing in the community and solidarity for Black and Brown people.
The second part, “Diversity,” prioritizes visibility and inclusion of people from all walks of life, depicting 12 fictional individuals of different ethnicities and identities who are surrounded by LGBTQ flags and temples representing various religions.
The third and final part of the mural, “Community,” represents “the most neglected members of our communities clearly in the foreground: those suffering from homelessness,” according to the statement.
“When I stand there and take a look at it, I hope that everybody’s able to see themselves in some aspects in that piece,” Keri said.