DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Public art project under Fullerton ‘L’ stop honors DePaul University’s 125-year history
By Russell Dorn /
October 12, 2022 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
The grand completion of a multi-year public art project will be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 15, with a dedication of 25 murals that wrap gray pillars supporting the Chicago Transit Authority's Fullerton "L" station with colorful, 10-foot-tall paintings representing the history of DePaul University.
The public ceremony for "The Story of 'The Little School Under the "L" ' — Under the 'L' " will take place at 10:30 a.m. by the pillars, located adjacent to DePaul's Cacciatore Stadium and Wish Field.
Some of the prominent DePaul figures depicted in the murals will attend the ceremony, including women’s basketball head coach Doug Bruno and Olympic track athlete Mabel “Dolly” Landry Staton. The dedication is open to the DePaul and Lincoln Park communities as part of the university's Alumni and Family Weekend.
A vision of muralist Brother Mark Elder, C.M., a faculty member in DePaul’s Art School, the project began in 2016 and was completed this summer. It celebrates key figures and moments in the university’s 125-year history, including groundbreaking people such as men's basketball coach Ray Meyer, basketball Hall of Famer George Mikan, and Chicago’s first archbishop, Patrick A. Feehan. A beginning mural discusses the project, and an “End of Trail” mural honors those who contributed to the project.
The project's completion after more than seven years coincides with the university’s year-long celebration of its
“I hope folks viewing these murals will take the time to realize what a special place DePaul is,” Elder says. “Our university’s history is filled with individuals who fought for justice, were pioneers in their field and broke barriers. It’s also filled with moments that helped shape a neighborhood school under the ‘L’ into what we are today. These murals cover just a portion of DePaul’s history, but I hope they will help memorialize these moments for the next generation of Blue Demons who will one day fight for justice, become pioneers in their field and break barriers.”
Each year, Elder’s process from ideation to installation of the murals took as long as 10 months. He finalized the mural concepts in late fall, laid out and drew the murals during the winter and worked with DePaul art students in his “Creating Murals” spring-quarter class to paint and prepare them to be moved under the "L" tracks. A small group of students and alumni then joined Elder each summer for installation, where their hands-on work included some final painting, preparing the canvases and applying the murals carefully onto the pillars for drying.
The murals are wrapped around the support pillars for the "L" tracks, and they measure on average about 10 feet tall and 8 feet in circumference. They are painted on non-woven polytab (parachute) material and installed like wallpaper. Each also includes a description of that mural’s theme.
Amy Kellenberger, a 2015 DePaul honors graduate with a degree in the history of art and architecture, assisted Elder with installation after graduating.
“Brother Mark’s determination and creativity are unparalleled. He beautified plain pillars underneath ‘L’ tracks with a celebration of DePaul and all that it represents,” she says. “It is a true community project.”
For Elder, the murals project is a prime example of the benefit of public art.
“When a group comes together and decides what’s important to them and celebrates that common ground with something like a public art project, everyone benefits,” he says.
“The Story of ‘The Little School Under the "L" ' — Under the 'L' " Timeline
The following list details the theme of each mural that appears on a pillar under the Fullerton "L" station. Some of the people who appear in the murals also are among the
125 Faces of DePaul — an initiative honoring DePaul’s trailblazers in celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary.