POTENTIAL WIN: Funds Raised to Rescue United Electrical Workers Union Hall Mural

A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago
A portion of the “Solidarity” mural at the United Electrical Workers union hall at 37 S. Ashland Ave. Photo credit: Max Chavez / Preservation Chicago

“A major fundraising campaign is underway to save the historical’Solidarity’ mural inside a Near West Side union hall before the building is sold and redeveloped into apartments.

“Spanning approximately 500 square feet across two floors of UE Hall, 37 S. Ashland Ave., the labor-themed mural illustrates the history of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and the labor movement from the 1930s onward.

“‘The mural is quite unique in that it’s probably one of the few ones in the whole United States that goes around a whole 360 degrees and is about union history,’ said Chicago artist John Pitman Weber, who along with the late Jose Guerrero painted the mural between 1973 and 1974.

“Now, the union and the Chicago Public Art Group are counting on the solidarity of the public and art funders to preserve these walls and the history they tell.

“To save the mural, the walls must be removed from the building and reattached to a new surface, organizers said. Two of the mural walls are supporting walls, while sections of the mural are on angled surfaces above doors or underneath the stairwell, complicating the process.

“The art group has already raised enough money, mostly from art foundations and individual donors, to move and store “approximately 90 percent of the major elements of the mural,” said UE President Carl Rosen.

“An online crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise at least $10,000 to cover the costs of documenting the mural through photography, video and lidar technology, allowing future visual and 3D representations of the mural.

“‘We will be able to use all of the funds raised through a crowd-sharing fund, and we’re going to need more,’ Rosen said.

“The union plans to display the preserved mural sections in its new home at the Chicago Teachers Union office, Rosen said.

“To do that, however, the group will need to pay for an art conservatory to safely scrape the plaster off the walls, reattach the mural and restore it as needed, a process that will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Rosen said.” (Garcia Hernandez, Block Club Chicago, 2/20/24)

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

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