CHICAGO, Oct. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A stunning new mural commissioned by AARP Chicago to honor the culture and tradition of residents in the Little Village community will be dedicated Friday on the walls of a cherished neighborhood restaurant.
"Celebrando Comunidad," a mural created by local artist Liz Reyes, adorns two walls of Nuevo Leon, 3657 W. 26th St. with bold colors and Día de Muertos skulls.
The community celebration will take place of the mural will be held Friday, Oct. 18 beginning at 3:30 p.m. The event will be broadcast live on Univision Chicago, emceed by Univision News Anchor Enrique Rodriguez.
The permanent art fixture was designed to recognize the thousands of Mexican American residents living in the Chicago area who honor and care for the generations who came before them -- not just on the upcoming Día de Muertos holiday Nov. 1 – but all year round.
"AARP is proud to provide this work of art to Little Village and the City of Chicago," said Bob Gallo, State Director of AARP Illinois. "It beautifies the community, supports local art and reminds us of the importance of staying connected to our culture." Gallo added that as 1 in 7 people in Chicago act as caregivers to loved ones, the mural will remind them that they are not alone.
AARP offers numerous resources for caregivers including community support groups, conferences to learn about available services and social gatherings – all available in Spanish language. For a list of upcoming events visit: www.aarp.org/chicago
AARP Illinois also advocates on behalf of its 1.7 million members on nursing home staffing levels, caregiving tax credits and other policies that improve the lives of those 50 + and their families.
Chicago residents may recognize some elements of the mural from similar artwork commissioned by AARP Chicago last year covering the exterior and interior of a CTA Pink Line train for several weeks in October and November.
Also designed by Reyes, the Día de Muertos Train energized thousands of Chicago residents who posted photos of the artwork traveling from the Loop to the Town of Cicero, Little Village, Pilsen and other communities.
Based on the success of the train wrap, AARP Chicago sought out additional ways to connect with Chicago's Hispanic Latino community. The organization was thrilled when Nuevo León Restaurant Owner Laura Gutiérrez Ramos generously donated the restaurant's walls as a canvas for a permanent piece.
Ramos said the idea of creating and continuing tradition resonated deeply with her, especially after a tragic fire devastated her uncle's Pilsen restaurant with the same name four years ago. Her grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from the Mexican State of Nuevo León, making it posible for his two sons to eventually open their own successful restaurants, one in Pilsen and one in Little Village.
"It's about keeping culture alive," said Gutierrez Ramos, who worked with AARP Chicago and the mural artist to add the mountains of Nuevo León to the artwork. "There are opportunities for new beginnings."
AARP Chicago is hosting several community and cultural programs in Little Village in the upcoming months, including a Caregiving Conference on Nov. 9th at Arturo Velasquez Institute and Film screening and dance on Dec. 14th at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
"AARP Chicago is reminding everyone that it is proud to be a part of a city where family, culture, and tradition are so important," said AARP Illinois Associate State Director Alvaro Obregon. "As someone who has lived in Pilsen with deep family roots Little Village since I was a year old, bringing resources and supporting the arts has been part of my life's mission. This mural is our way of saying, aquí estamos."
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities.
SOURCE AARP Illinois