Jerrold Anderson always thought of himself as an artist.
From sketching to rapping, creativity has always been among his strengths. It helped give him his street name — Just Flo. And now, that creativity is on display across the South Side.
Anderson’s newest piece, unveiled Tuesday, is splashed across Englewood’s Planned Parenthood, 6059 S. Ashland Ave.
“There’s so much good in Englewood that goes unseen,” said Anderson, 41, to a crowd gathered for the festivities. “I wanted to try to show our community coming together. Englewood has had a lot of ups and downs through the years, it’s no secret. But I don’t want us to forget the light that shines in all of us that this community is reflecting.”
In the mural, a police officer, construction worker and firefighter wave and smile. On opposite ends of the painting, two families stand, the parents embracing their children.
In one corner, a woman’s face is upturned, her hands pressed together. In the other, a man’s blue eyes are filled with emotion.
And above it all, in scrawling calligraphy: “Englewood.”
“The artwork that Just Flo created captures a snapshot of the community that we’re showcasing,” said Deonn Strathman, director of community engagement for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “This mural will serve as a welcoming beacon for years for patients and visitors in the Englewood community.”
Anderson’s mural, commissioned by Planned Parenthood through the Englewood Arts Collective, is part of the #GoodInEnglewood campaign, started by Rashanah Baldwin 12 years ago to change public perception of the neighborhood.
“We are not dodging bullets. We are not on welfare. We are not hanging out on the corners,” Baldwin said Tuesday. “This shows good in Englewood. Seeing the two-parent family household, that image is so beautiful. I love it … and hope to see more of our spaces reclaimed.”
It took a month of sketching, revising and listening to community input to complete the mural.
Anderson, who’s lived in Englewood for 10 years, said it was a “humble blessing … to see so many different people — young, old — driving past and showing love” as the mural came together. It showed him people in Englewood just want “an opportunity to communicate.”
Anderson’s other artwork can be found under the name Just Flo at Whole Foods on 63rd Street and Halsted, under the viaduct on 58th Street and Halsted, at 63rd and Morgan and at a new grocery store to open soon on 63rd Street.
Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter for the Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.