For about 600 feet along the beach in Loyola Park, there is a concrete retaining wall / park bench that, some three decades ago, was a major magnet for graffiti, most of it distinctly inartistic if not downright threatening. What began as a housekeeping experiment evolved into an annual community institution: segments of the wall, freshly sandblasted and primed, were licensed out to whomever in the community wanted to express themselves. Make an event of it. And so they did. After missing 2020 because of the COVID plague, this year’s event was held over the June 19 – 20 weekend.
I don’t know the institutional history of the event. As it is in a city park, the Chicago Park District has been involved from the start, but there have been other institutional players involved in the past. Today it seems to be primarily the responsibility of the Park District’s Loyola Park Advisory Council.
Any complete history of the event is absent the web: no list of participants, no documentation of their artwork, no record of who “won” or when prizes first were awarded. The advisory council’s Facebook page has photos as far back as 2012. I’ve posted selections of my own photos from 2019 and 2018 and 2017. I’ve been photographing the wall since around the turn of the century, so you’ll find photos from earlier Artists of the Wall events scattered among the earlier posts on Yip Abides as the temptation to sometimes use them as illustrations was irresistible.
So here is my contribution to the cloud, a selection of complete panels or detail therein and by no means a complete record for the year, only of what I liked:
(Click any image to enlarge it.)