There’s a new mosaic mural in town, thanks to Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Off the Wall summer program. The eight-week project, which resulted in “Parrot Pandemonium,” is a large stand-alone installment along the sidewalk at 914 North Blvd., Oak Park.

Off the Wall is an annual program that provides employment and creative opportunity for professional artists as well as students. Master Artist Carolyn Elaine, who has headed previous Off the Wall projects, presented the parrot idea to art apprentices, and they contributed details and colors, according to Camille Wilson White, executive director of the Oak Park Area Art Council (OPAAC). In addition to pops of color representing the different parrots, leaves and sky, mirror pieces reflect light and represent the branch the parrots share, plus other highlights. 

Those working on the mural included Atlan Arceo-Witzl, assistant to the master artist, a college graduate and Oak Park native. Hasani Cannon, senior apprentice and apprentices Perhaje Cannon, Lauren Atchley, Greta Olson and Lauren Edwards, all from Oak Park, are college and high school students.

According to Wilson White, apprentices return each summer, especially when they have been a “valuable part of the team.” Two such artists who have returned year after year, and increased their responsibilities, are Arceo-Witzl, who is now a professional artist and Hasani Cannon. “Nine out of 10 times they come back,” Wilson White said of the apprentices’ desire to return. 

The site for Parrot Pandemonium, a beautiful image blocking dumpsters and screening a parking lot in a stretch of apartments, came at the request of Bill Planek, president of Greenplan Management, the owner of Oak Park Apartments.  

Funding for Off the Wall came from the village of Oak Park, Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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