About

The Story of the Little School Under the ‘L,’ Under the ‘L’

The murals on the pillars under the Fullerton Ave. CTA ‘L’ station are a public art project in Chicago, IL by Bro. Mark Elder, C.M. and students from ‘Creating Murals’ (Art 291) of DePaul University during the years of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

Overview

The murals were conceived of as a visual narrative and history of DePaul University, whose Lincoln Park campus in Chicago is located adjacent to and south of the Fullerton ‘L’ station. The idea was to use the columns that are holding up the Fullerton CTA station to tell the story of the ‘Little School under the ‘L’–literally under the ‘L’.  Each pier is an individual piece of public art. 

Each Spring (starting in 2016), approved designs for four pillars are developed by a public art class that Bro. Mark teaches, and that students take for their Junior Year Experiential credit.  The final installation will be an independent public art project conceived of and executed by Bro. Mark.  

All of the mural compositions are painted on non-woven polytab (parachute) material, which are then installed much like wallpaper.  The artists use acrylic paints, and then acrylic gel as an adhesive to fix the painted polytab material to the column. (Note: Polytab and acrylic paints have been widely used materials for public art pieces for over 35 years and are considered safe).

Each mural has some text (copy) on it, in order to inform viewers more about the selected theme.  

Themes

Groups of 4 columns (piers) are arranged in a series of 20 year periods.  The first row represents the opening generation of DePaul (1898-1918).  Individuals, groups and events and their DePaul stories are featured. The pillar themes have not been completed in a consecutive historical order, but rather randomly, to help celebrate a significant event.