The Good City Group is a salon-style urban design group of architects, industrial designers, urban planners, design strategists, IT professionals and policymakers from diverse practice areas dedicated to healthy, sustainable cities.
In 2012, the Sauganash Mural Project began with a group of community members who worked with the Chicago Public Art Group to design and install a mosaic under the bike trail bridge on the south and north sides of Peterson Avenue. The mission of the Chicago Public Art Group is to unite artists and communities in partnership to produce quality public art and to extend and transform the tradition of collaborative, community involved, public artwork.
For the Sauganash piece, the narrative and layout were created during several community meetings. The realization allowed neighbors to take an active part in its creation, either by submitting photographs to be reproduced on individual tiles or by lending their own craftsmanship and artistic skills to the project. A documentary called the Spirit of Sauganash was subsequently produced to tell the story of the collaboration between the residents and artists.
The mural tells the story of the area, from its origins as a prairie and the encounter of American Indians with early settlers and missionaries, to the development of a unique suburb-like neighborhood.
The mural celebrates Peterson Avenue as the thoroughfare that runs across the neighborhood and evokes Sauganash’s many diagonal residential streets with large lots, deep setbacks, and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, which give a sense of seclusion and separation from the city.