Greening the Southeast Side
Southeast Environmental Task Force in partnership with artists: Sam Kirk, Eduardo Luna, Lavie Raven, Desi Mundo, Rafa Almaguer
About Greening the Southeast Side
Greening the Southeast Side consists of multiple artworks across different locations on the Southeast Side: 2 murals, the Healing House, and a community Eco-Fest Block Party.
All are community-driven and reflect the community’s long history of labor organizing and environmental and climate justice activism & victories.
Healing House @ Urban Growers Collective, South Chicago
The Healing House, created by Sam Kirk, is an interactive public art greenhouse, powered by solar panels, that focuses on enlightening the senses and spirit to promote healing and sustainability. Using a combination of plants, natural materials, and art installations, the Healing House compliments and contributes to the existing environment while providing a space to engage in sustainable creative practices to further support our communities.
The Healing House is constructed with materials that prioritize durability and benefit the natural environment.
To develop Healing House, Sam Kirk worked with the Southeast Environmental Taskforce to understand the needs of the Southeast Chicago community. It’s Southeast side location at Urban Growers Collective in Schafer Park allows residents to engage with the work, and determine how this art piece can contribute to long-term community efforts.
Bessemer Park Mural
This mural’s concept, painted by Eduardo Luna, includes imagery of nature and how climate change impacts the people, animals and plants that call this community home.
Mural on Southeast Environmental Task Force Office Building
Environmental justice pioneers who have sacrificed so much to protect the community from polluters are highlighted in this mural, painted by Desi Mundo.
For generations, Hazel Johnson and Marian Byrnes were the vanguard of environmental justice on the Southeast Side of Chicago paving the way for new generations of activists. Pictured in this mural are Gina Ramirez and Oscar Sanchez, leaders in winning the #StopGeneralIron Campaign.
Art Type: Gathering Space + Murals + Block Party
Grant Amount: $100,000
Click on each image to enlarge and to see the photo caption.
About the Artist(s)
The Southeast Environmental Task Force is an environmental justice nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the southeast side and south suburbs of Chicago by promoting environmental education, pollution prevention, and sustainable development. Its mission speaks of creating a “Southeast Chicagoland that will one day serve as a national and international model for the integration of industrial, residential, and natural areas into a productive, green, and environmentally sustainable urban community.”
They have fought off the proposed conversion of Lake Calumet into an airport, opposed landfills at O’Brien Lock, participated in the 2001 Calumet Initiative which restored and enhanced open space and economic opportunities, extended landfill moratoriums and helped to close the Stateline Coal Power Plant. In March 2021, together with allies, they succeeded in drawing the EPA’s attention to a proposed permit to General Iron for a controversial car-shredding operation in the Southeast Side, resulting in the permit being halted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Sam Kirk is a Chicago based, award winning Multidisciplinary Artist who explores culture and identity politics. Her artwork focuses on a variety of intersections which encompass a call to celebrate differences and enact change. She has been recognized for her public art career, as she intentionally uses the public space to uplift and celebrate historically excluded communities. Her portfolio includes 60+ permanent murals and temporary installations throughout the world. Inspired by the nuances of the human experience, Kirk’s artwork, includes narrative driven pieces that are meant to reveal the layers of life and how these moments impact our identity.
Eduardo Luna, AKA dTel, is an independent graffiti artist with 20 years of experience. He grew up near Lake Michigan and the Calumet River – a heavily industrialized shoreline and riverbank that left little access for people to enjoy the water. Since 2009, Eduardo has created many pieces across the Southeast Side of Chicago and also in St. Louis, Austin, Houston, Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Zacatecas, MX, CDMX, and Guadalajara, MX. In the summer of 2019, he hosted the first-ever Meeting of Styles (MOS 2019) on the Southeast Side of Chicago, where he brought nearly 100 graffiti artists to create a diverse collection of public art under a bridge on Chicago’s far Southeast Side. The three-day event brought together community members, environmental and climate justice activists, and artists. Eduardo is the Mural Project Manager for the Greening the Southeast Side Project.
Lavie Raven, AKA Raven, is a social studies and language arts instructor at North Lawndale College Preparatory HS (a Chicago high school), and the Prime Minister of Education for the University of Hip-Hop. Having taught in the Chicago public school system for twenty years and done community arts work since he was a teenager, Raven has created strategies for integrating hip-hop into community service projects and classroom education. As a mural artist, he has worked with youth to create culturally conscious murals that have been displayed at museums, cultural centers, and community organizations. Raven believes in providing youth with a multi-disciplinary approach toward life that holistically engages their academic skills, celebrates their talents and artistic abilities, and empowers youth desires to bring positive change to society.
Rafa Almager is born and raised on the far Southeast Side of Chicago. For over 30 years Rafa’s art has been in the vanguard of urban public art specializing in airbrushing, portraits, as well as painting permission and non-permission walls. His work can be seen across Chicago and beyond. He has painted urban art/graffiti walls for Hollywood most notably in the movie Max Payne starting Mark Walberg. He has traveled all over the US to paint. He has also taught students about public art at Bowen High School and the University of Hip Hop. He is highly regarded as one of the greatest artists from the Southeast Side by Hip Hop and graffiti artists.
Desi Mundo is the founder of the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP). Under his leadership, CRP has produced more than 250 murals in the Bay Area, Chicago, Albuquerque, and Bologna, Italy. As an artist, he has collaborated with influential aerosol artists ZORE, P.H.A.S.E.2, VULCAN, and RAVEN. Desi also has a long history of community organizing and public art advocacy. He received the Rising Leaders Fellowship from the Youth Leadership Institute in 2005 and has been awarded the Individual Artist grant from the City of Oakland eight times.