One resale shop near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus is taking a step to brighten the community with a vibrant new mural.
Green Element (6241 N. Broadway St.), owned by Brian Haag, is already well-known for its multicolored walls. Now an eye-catching mural adorns the establishment’s northern wall. Illustrated on the brick wall is a spread of colorful flowers and a smiling face against a bright green backsplash. The image features creative floral work in various colors.
Haag said its purpose revolved around community. The north wall was resurfaced for the community after having been torn down, with the intention of enlivening the neighborhood through its colors, according to Haag. The city chamber reached out to Haag about creating a mural this year and offered to fund it. The lively colors and designs were brought to the wall to bring vibrancy and joy to the people of Rogers Park.
Artist Molly Zakrajsek painted the title of her piece directly on it, calling the mural “Cultivating Harmony.” The inspiration for the title came from her observation of the Green Element community. She was inspired by the interactions she witnessed between the owner and customers. She saw communal harmony at work, and the word “cultivating” fit well, she said. Haag said the goal of the community is to create harmony gently. For the design, Haag told Zakrajsek that anything involving nature would be perfect for the mural, which led to the floral design that’s on the wall today.
Haag said he hopes to gain access of the empty lot space next to the building to create more community space. He and the neighborhood have petitioned to use this space, asking Loyola University for permission. The shop owner said adding outdoor furniture in the space would “provide additional vibrancy and safety” for the community. Creating a plaza would bring in more business for Green Element as well, as it would allow people to linger and be more likely to walk in, Haag said.