Bringing Community Art to ACCESS Southwest

January 29, 2024

Access Community Health Network (ACCESS) recently unveiled a new community mural at ACCESS Southwest Family Health Center, located at 4839 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60638. This mural is the second installment of a larger community art initiative focused on highlighting the beauty, diversity, and uniqueness of the communities ACCESS is proud to serve.

With a commitment to supporting local artists and making art more accessible, the ACCESS Community Art Committee selected Austin-native Jamiah Calvin as the muralist for the ACCESS Southwest art project. Jamiah Calvin was chosen because of his personal connection to Chicago’s West side and his experience creating murals that reflect the diversity of the people of Chicago.

The concept of the mural was developed with significant input from surrounding community members and ACCESS Southwest staff. According to Laura Whalley, ACCESS Regional Operations Manager, “the mural brainstorming was a wonderful blend of professional skill, enthusiasm, and team spirit that enriched the shared values and vision of the health center and community.”

The words “healing” and “sanar” (Spanish for “healing”) are featured in the mural design and became a central theme for the project. The goal was to speak to the physical, mental, and environmental healing of the community and the diversity in its residents.

Artist Jamiah Calvin cites, “This mural project represents hope and healing of the community during a time when people are still recovering from the trauma of the pandemic, wars, and economic crises. Contrary to popular belief we are all in this together, and we have to continue to do our best to uplift one another.”

East side of ACCESS Southwest. The mural features a range of ages to include an older man and a young female. The praying hands in the center of the wall elicit a connection to spirituality. The background features depictions of the community’s neighborhoods, grounding the mural with a sense of place. 

Front of ACCESS Southwest. Shadow figures show a diversity of ages and some typical neighborhood activities. Calming blue colors bring a sense of peace to the project.

About the Artist

Jamiah Calvin is a visual artist and muralist from Chicago. He specializes in figurative and narrative oil paintings and drawings that capture the raw emotions and nostalgic experiences of growing up in the Austin Community on the West side of Chicago. ​Calvin's art remains just as diverse as the areas that influence him. He draws inspiration from his vivid memories of comic books, Saturday morning cartoons, and his love of the creative works of John Coltrane and R&B music from the 1980's and 90's. Much of his work is influenced by the effects of Reaganomics on the African American culture.

Calvin graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in studio art with an emphasis on painting. His works have been featured in various exhibitions throughout the country as well as Art Basel Miami.

About Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)

ACCESS offers patient-centered, preventive, and primary care services to more than 170,000 patients annually throughout Chicago and suburban Cook and DuPage counties. As the nation’s sixth largest network of federally qualified health centers, ACCESS continues to innovate and evolve its care delivery model to address the total health needs of our patients. Recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, ACCESS is also focused on improving our patients’ overall experience. For more information, visit: www.achn.net.

 

CONTACT:

Natalie Shaffer at 312.526.2626.