Northside Stranger’s Home - mural by William Walker
Cabrini Green. Mural apparently in danger of being lost.
In a neighborhood pulsing with bulldozers and construction crews, the small church with the giant mural has managed to stand untouched, on an island of concrete and brittle grass, looking as lonely and alluring as a lighthouse.
The mural is faded now, its reds and yellows battered by sun and snow, but it's otherwise in good shape.
"Is there any graffiti on this piece?" said Pounds, who wears his gray hair in a short braided pigtail. "No. Thirty-five years, and no graffiti. That's a real testament to the power of the piece."
But a for-sale sign recently went up on another of the church's walls, the one that faces east toward the brand-new "eco-condos." If the mural's lovers don't act fast, Chicago is apt to gain a few more kitchens with granite countertops and lose a piece of art that Pounds believes is every bit as valuable as the Picasso sculpture in the Loop.
In 1972, an African-American artist named William Walker climbed some scaffolding and began to paint this 1901 church next door to Cabrini-Green.