Fund-raiser organizers Marcelo Ruiz, left, and Cesar Calderon, right, present paleta ice cream vendor Isidro Alvarez with a check for publicly raised funds at the street art event on West 35th Street and South Archer Avenue on Sunday, September 20, 2020.

Street Artists, Businesses Unite to Support Paleta Vendor, Create New Public Artwork

Published September 21, 2020

An all-volunteer crew of Chicago street artists and community organizers descended on the corner of West 35th Street and South Archer Avenue on Sunday, September 20, 2020, to paint boarded-up storefronts under renovation and support Isidro Alvarez, a vendor of ice cream paletas robbed last month in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

 
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Thanks to fund-raising efforts through a GoFundMe campaign and an art auction on Saturday hosted at Counterfit in the Gage Park neighborhood, organizers Cesar Calderon and Marcelo Ruiz were able to present Alvarez with over $2,000 in publicly raised funds to assist him and his family, who also joined the event on Sunday.

 
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The effort to help Alvarez stemmed from a desire to unite the community, Calderon said. "The more we work together, the stronger the community will be," he said.

Alvarez expressed deep gratitude for the support he and his family received. He wished the best for everyone who provided support, including contributors and organizers.

Paint the City

Many of the artists painting at the event were associated with Paint the City, a recently organized, Chicago-based artists' collaborative with the goal of healing the city through public art. Co-founder Missy Perkins lent a hand on Sunday and said that this was the group's first project in McKinley Park.

Muralist Milton Coronado, whose painting capped the corner of the flatiron-shaped building, said the sanctioned location for street art allowed him to plan and create a study for his work ahead of time. He has painted street art in the McKinley Park neighborhood before, he said, but "it was painted over long ago."

Perkins said that Paint the City works with more than 50 Chicago artists, with some of its most recent large-scale projects in the Austin neighborhood. She welcomed the opportunity to site future projects in the McKinley Park neighborhood and said interested property owners should reach out to inquire about hosting spaces for public art.

 
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Paint the City can be contacted via its website at paintthecity.net, on its Facebook page, through the phone at (414) 379-7475 and email at paintthecity312@gmail.com

 
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Property manager Cesar Pedroza was also on-hand at the event on Sunday to lend support to the working artists at the building, which has recently been undergoing renovations.


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