Street Art Creates Opportunities in Oak Forest

An opportunity to bring beautification and unique art to the streets of Oak Forest resulted in a community art project, “Opportunity Knocks.”

On the northern corner of the busy intersection of 159th Street and Cicero Avenue, 19 plain white doors scatter the lawn as blank art canvases. Members of the community-residents, businesses, schools and organizations-are turning these once abandoned, worn-out doors into works of art.

Ald. Diane Wolf said the project has been a long time coming for the community of Oak Forest.

“We always had discussions on street art and how it can fit into Oak Forest,” she said. “We want to encourage art in the community in all aspects.”

Called “Opportunity Knocks,” Wolf said the project is meant to ask residents what opportunity means to them. She said she was inspired by a similar street art project in South Carolina that a resident told her about.

The 19 doors came from an abandoned building on 157th Street that was scheduled to be demolished. Instead, the city has found new use for the old doors.

“We set it up so that the artists can come and go as they please to work on their door. People are able to see the artists painting and watch as it transpires so everyone is really a part of it,” Wolf said.

Resident Barb Heine is an artist and an avid gardener, so it was only fit to theme her door’s artwork around what inspires her.

“My door’s theme is “Ideas Bloom” and I have been painting colorful flowers all over it,” she said. “I think this is great for Oak Forest; Tinley Park had the benches, and Chicago had the cows, so it’s nice to see street art at home.”

Heine said she has been prepping her door for over three weeks. Artists have until June 24 to finish their door and then on June 27, a big reveal of all the completed doors will take place during the weekly Farmer’s Market.

Wolf said she plans to keep the doors up until the end of the year, weather permitting.

For some of the artists, the current weather conditions has been a damper on their creativity.

Callie Domhecker is the Daisy Troop leader for Troop 60429 in Oak Forest. She said the  constant rain over the last few weeks has prevented her girls from finishing their door full of trees, flowers and animals, which is appropriately themed.

“On the south side of the door, we decided to include the bridge and rainbow which represents the passing from one girl scout level to the next (in our case, Daisy to Brownies),” she said. “To sum it up, the theme of our door is the journey that the girls have gone through together and the journey to be uncovered as they continue to do good deeds and have fun as a group of friends within the Oak Forest community.”

Some of the doors are covered to make the unveiling more special, but most show off their artwork proudly already. Everyone involved in the project hopes that more opportunities such as this one comes their way in the community’s future.

“I’m hoping a committee forms so we can get more projects like this going and more art onto the streets,” said Heine. “I think this is a great thing that should definitely continue.”

[Via: The Daily Southtown]

About Allison Matyus