By Dong Jin Oh
CHICAGO — Portraits of South Chicago residents will adorn Metra stations as one of first art pieces commissioned under the commuter rail agency’s Community Enhancement Program.
The portraits, which were created with the assistance of South Chicago residents, are being installed this month at the 87th and 93rd Street stations on the Metra Electric Line.
The Community Enhancement Project was pitched to Metra by archi-treasures, a nonprofit organization that combines the arts and community development to improve civic engagement in Chicago neighborhoods.
Under archi-treasures’ new pilot program, residents of the Germano Millgate Apartments subsidized housing complex in South Chicago collaborated with Italian artist Chiara Galimberti to create 22 portraits of the building’s residents.
“The goal of this project is to represent the people who live at Germano Millgate Apartments by broadcasting their portraits publicly and telling their stories, thereby challenging a dominant narrative about low-income housing that is largely inaccurate as well as humiliating to residents,” said Joyce Fernandes, executive director of archi-treasures.
The portraits are part of archi-treasures’ Front Porch Project, which examines the front porch as a place of neighborly exchange that marks the border between private and public spaces, Fernandes said.