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A unique pro-social initiative in Lodz. A mural was created on the wall of the DPS, which was co-designed by female residents

12 of July '21

Three multicolored walls, 170 square meters of color, a focus on flowers and a butterfly - this is one of the latest murals in Lodz, which was created on the walls of the DPS building on 28 Pułku Strzelców Kaniowskich Street as part of renovation efforts. The project, which was coordinated by Art Open Studio, not only enlivened the gray space around the DPS. It also involved female residents in the creation of the mural, which proves its pro-social value.

Lodz is the mecca of murals in Poland. They are an integral and recognizable part of the urban landscape. Some of them strongly fit into the post-industrial character of the city, others enliven gray, neglected areas. Some aestheticize the space, others attempt to comment on reality. They are created in cooperation with city institutions and brands; sometimes, though increasingly rarely, spontaneously - on the initiative of the artist. Many of them were created under the guidance of the Urban Forms Foundation - which supports culture and urban art.

On the walls of Lodz buildings you can find intriguing works by the most interesting mural artists from Poland and abroad. Among them is the peeking out "Rubinstein" (one of the most colorful murals in Lodz!), dedicated, of course, to pianist Artur Rubinstein. It was made by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra. Or the "Madame Chicken" mural, a street art pastiche of "Lady with an Ermine," painted by the Etam Crew group.

In short: there is something to see in Lodz, and the collection of murals is growing all the time. For example, in early July, the walls of one of Lodz's nursing homes, specifically at 28 Pułku Strzelców Kaniowskich Street, were covered with a floral, colorful mural. It had a refreshing effect on the gray space!

170 square meters of color - aesthetic and pro-social value

The mural was created as part of the ongoing renovation of the building and its surroundings, but its creation was suggested by the residents' caretakers. The entire project was coordinated by Art Open Studio. The pattern of the mural was designed by the artists together with the seniors and the DPS management. The execution was handled by Grzegorz Ilski.

The mural depicts a small, multicolored, section of a meadow. The color scheme is a variation of burgundy, mustard, green and navy blue. The authors of the project wanted the mural to enliven the surroundings of the DPS, even in winter. In total, the work occupies three walls of the building and 170 square meters.

Grzegorz Ilski during the creation of the mural

photo: Stefan Brajter

This project is important not only because of its obvious function of aestheticizing the space. It is also an example of the real influence of female residents on the shape of the space they live in and the involvement of the senior group in creative activities. Karolina Ilska of Art Open Studio mentions that choosing the final version of the mural was not easy, as each of the senior women proposed her own concept. Ultimately, however, she assesses the project as a socially valuable gesture.

Art Open Studio, after consulting with DPS management, proposed a preliminary design. The seniors were to choose the final version. The consultations were not easy, as basically each of the ladies had an individual concept, but they were very valuable - they showed how much they cared about having an impact on the appearance of the building they live in , says Karolina Ilska.

The first project depicted a waterfall. But we thought the colors were not as vibrant as we wanted them to be. Hence the idea for butterflies and flowers, " says Malgorzata Stefanska, a senior citizen and resident of the house.

Such activities benefit on many levels. Not only do they creatively interfere with urban space, refreshing it. They are also likely to have an activating effect on specific social groups, in this case senior women. I think that the co-design of this mural has also opened up senior women to street art ," adds Karolina Ilska.

Developing the design, including consultations, took several weeks. Painting the mural took five days. Facade acrylic paints were used for the mural, hence Art Open Studio's assurances that the wall will last in good condition for many years.

Residents of the DPS at 28 Pułku Strzelców Kaniowskich Street in Lodz.

photo: Stefan Brajter

Refreshing the DPS as part of the civic budget

The floral mural was created in connection with the DPS renovation efforts, which have been carried out for several years as part of the civic budget. In 2019 the entire second floor was renovated, while in 2020 the second floor was renovated and the space around the building was refreshed. There is now more greenery and new paving. Work on the third floor is expected to start this year. These works will cost about several hundred thousand zlotys.

Katarzyna Domagała

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