Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday with Dan

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to plow into another week. Joining us tonight is Dan, our regular urban coorespondant. Here's his post:

Pilsen, two to three miles southwest of the Loop, is noted for its murals. Historically, the murals have given this largely Hispanic community a colorful means to state its aspirations and reject the chains of prejudice that sometimes hinder immigrant groups. The murals portray many themes; from native Aztec religions to the Virgin of Guadalupe; from images of violence to priests blessing babies; from militant uprisings to children's education. One of these murals has served as the backdrop for Santana and his band in a street scene in the video, "Game of Love". The church on whose wall it lives had a fire in December of 2000, severely damaging the sanctuary. Now the church had already been closed for a decade and the rest of the complex used as a state of the art day care and child education center, so the sanctuary was not in use. However, when people entered the room after the fire, the mural depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe was untouched even though the stained glass windows next to it had melted. This, then became the rallying cry for continued efforts to rebuild the sanctuary and its surrounding community and a local artist painted an additional mural of the Blessed Virgin on the outside of the church, thus entering the Santana video.

Well, it's 2011 and the sanctuary still has not been rebuilt. The steeple tower shows broken glass and signs of disrepair. The street in front of the church has been closed off with concrete barriers to keep gangbangers from having easy routes to the arterial streets after a drive-by. The child care center, however, is going strong and they have painted their own mural on the side walls of the historic church. Even in the midst of violence, continuing poverty, and unsuccessful rebuilding projects, grace remains alive in the education of the children. Education and encouragement of communities - isn't that what murals really do?

My tie in with Scott's post is "Smiling Faces".

Nikon D3000
VR 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6
18 mm Focal Length
F/ 18
ISO 800

Outstanding once again Dan. I especially love your prose. Thanks so much for joining us Dan and keep up the awesome work!


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