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CHICAGO (November 30, 2021) – Special Service Area #61, in partnership with its service provider, South East Chicago Commission (SECC), will unveil two new murals in Downtown Hyde Park on Saturday December 4th, 2021 during the annual Hyde Park Holly-Day festivities.

With support from 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, locations adjacent to the Metra viaducts on 53rd and 55th Street were identified as spaces to bring new creative art, culture and vibrancy to the community. After an open invitation for proposals, two muralists, Nico Berry and Izze Ortiz, were selected from 15 artist submissions.

“Micro-investments, such as mural projects, beautify the community and represent the cultural diversity of the neighborhood. Murals make our traveling corridors bright and attractive for our residents, neighbors, and art enthusiasts who visit Hyde Park and support the local businesses,” said Diane Burnham, SECC Executive Director.

Building upon the history of local Hyde Park murals, SSA 61 selected two artists who represent and embrace the dynamics of the changing neighborhood.

“There’s a rich history here and artists have painted the walls under the 47th, 53rd, 55th and 57th Street viaducts for more than 60 years. We are honored to add these two murals showcasing Chicago’s culture, values and brilliance,” stated SSA 61 Chairman, George Rumsey.

Nico Berry, a native Chicagoan who attended Kenwood Academy and Ancona Schools, was commissioned for the 53rd Street location to install a mural titled Harold’s Parakeets. Berry has over two decades of experience painting murals. IG: @nicosprayitloud

“My vision was to create a mural that reflects and celebrates the character, history, and diverse population of Hyde Park, the neighborhood where I was born and raised. It features a large portrait of Harold Washington, a number of Monk Parakeets, as well as architectural and natural elements that evoke Hyde Park and the city of Chicago,” said Berry.

Emerging artist and native Chicagoan, Izze Ortiz was commissioned for the 55th Street location. Creatively titled Essence of Growth, the mural’s design includes three intergenerational characters at different places in their life. IG: @heyitsizze

“I was thinking a lot about self-love. When you love yourself, you can be in service to others. It’s important that people love each other,” said Ortiz.

The Hyde Park murals will be officially unveiled at each mural location on Saturday, December 4, 2021 with official remarks at 11:00 am and 11:30 am. For more information, please contact Diane Burnham, Executive Director, at 773-324-6926.