In Ode To Nature, ComEd Unveils $100K Mural Created By Artist, Proviso Students

Friday, October 26, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Proviso students with a team of artists, including lead artist Hector Duarte (pictured wearing the red bandana), standing in front of “The Dance of the Lightning Bugs,” a 100-foot mural in Maywood. | VFP 

ComEd officials unveiled a 100-foot by 30-foot tall mural by the world-renowned artist Hector Duarte, who had some critical assistance from a group of Proviso High Schools District 209 students, during a brief ceremony on Oct. 22.

The luminous, larger than life mural, entitled “The Dance of the Lightning Bugs,” depicts insects flying in blades of grass that foreground the Chicago skyline, which looms as a silhouette in the background.

The mural was installed on the outside of a garage that sits directly in front of the Tech Center on the ComEd Tech Center Campus, 1319 Maybrook Drive in Maywood. ComEd funded the mural, which cost around $100,000 to complete. 

“This mural is really a melding of our community, the environment and how they’re in harmony together,” said Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s senior vice president of governmental and external affairs during remarks at Monday’s unveiling ceremony.

Terry Donnelly, ComEd’s president and COO, said that the utility challenged students from Proviso East, Proviso West, and Proviso Math and Science Academy to create a work of art that “captures the spirit of exploration at our Smart City Lab, here at Tech Center.”

Donnelly said that workers at the Center, which is located in a gated campus just off of Maybrook Drive, are working “on what it takes to become the utility of the future.” The company, Donnelly said, is exploring new green energy sources, more personalized customer service as part of this push to innovate.

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Monday’s mural ribbon-cutting included local elected officials and ComEd representatives. | VFP 

“ComEd is always looking for new and creative ways to engage our communities and our future workforce through STEM education and work programs,” he said, “but I haven’t seen anything quite like this. This is pretty innovative.”

The mural, which is made of synthetic paper, was a summer-long project spearheaded by Duarte inside of a gymnasium at Proviso East.

ComEd hired Chicago Public Art Group, a nonprofit coalition of professional artists that “that seeks to unite artists and communities in partnership to produce high quality public art,” according to its website, to manage the project.

“We have to do this great work we do lighting up the city and surrounding communities and providing all these great services, but we have to do it without impacting nature,” said ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez. “And the harmony we seek to obtain is the harmony displayed in this wonderful mural.”

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The mural, which is 100 feet wide and 30 feet long, cost about $100,000 and was paid for by ComEd. | VFP 

Nicole Howard, D209’s assistant superintendent for academics and family services, said that the mural is the result of multiple phases of revisions and changes that were driven, in large part, by students like Emmanuel Escuito, who worked on the mural from start to finish.

“I still can’t believe we did that,” Escuito. “This was a surreal dream of mine, but I believed that this process would totally be in my future.”

Steve Weaver, the Chicago Public Art Group’s executive director, said that the nonprofit “sees public art as part of the social infrastructure that helps bring our communities together.” VFP 

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2 thoughts on “In Ode To Nature, ComEd Unveils $100K Mural Created By Artist, Proviso Students”

  1. Its a lovely mural, the out come is as great as the people who made this vision come to be. Good job👍 much love to all.

  2. Wow! This mural is absolutely awesome. As a graduate/alumni of Proviso East High School, this put a smile to my face to see a lot of students in District 209 collaborated with artist Hector Duarte to make a timeless mural to bring the community together. They definitely put the work in it. Outstanding job!

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