New Lombard public art mural pops up at Yorktown Center

The finishing touches are being applied to a new public art mural at Yorktown Center in Lombard.

Veronica Martinez of Chicago and Edgar Sosa of Cicero are the artists behind “Flourish.” The nearly 2,430 square-foot painting in two pieces adorns the shopping center’s main entrance.

Like two giant blocks from the video game “Tetris,” the multicolored murals visually pop amid the outdoor dining patio of a Honey Berry Pancakes and Cafe. Its creation was commissioned by Yorktown Center’s 2021 Mural Project.

“Flourish” takes its inspiration from Lombard’s famous flora, its history and iconic Chicago landmarks. It’s a design that is both abstract and representational.

“At first we had the idea of color, but it didn’t really have as deep as a meaning that it currently has,” Sosa said.

A trip to Lombard’s Lilacia Park inspired the artists to incorporate the 19th century Lombard settler Sheldon Peck into the design. Not only was Peck a folk artist himself, but his abolitionist stances and role as a conductor for the Underground Railroad jibed with Martinez’s own artistic work driven by social justice movements.

“The more we kept digging, the more rich information we discovered about this community,” said Martinez, noting that keen mural observers will find Peck’s historical home and portrait in the design.

“The way that Veronica and Edgar were able to weave the Lombard history, the western suburban history while also incorporating those pieces of the Chicago skyline is so incredible,” said Yorktown’s marketing manager Emily Barack.

Both Sosa and Martinez also chuckle about their initial mural work that started on July 7. Yorktown shoppers might have been mistaken that the murals were just a squiggly mass of blue doodles across a white background.

“It actually served as a grid for us — knowing how big and how proportional an object or shape was going to be,” said Martinez about the artists’ mapping technique to accurately enlarge their design to scale on the walls.

Sosa added that they named the mural “Flourish” and made it extra colorful as a contrast to last year’s turmoil with so much societal upheaval and global sickness. Both Martinez and Sosa also were delighted by all the passerby encouragement as they painted.

“People would yell out their compliments over the noise of the hydraulic lift,” Sosa said. “That made it even better for us.”

“Flourish” joins the ranks of four other murals at Yorktown. These include the Brookfield Zoo co-sponsored mural “Yorktown Butterfly” by artist Kelsey Montague, plus “Rise & Shine” by Chicago-area artist Molly Z.

But “Flourish” has extra prominence according to Barack, since an estimated 1.4 million vehicles pass by Yorktown’s facade along Butterfield Road each month.

“So these artists have a huge impact not only on the property itself, but a visibility in our community that is unmatched,” Barack said.