Painted by artist Anthony Lewellen in 2018, this mural in Berwyn is part of a public art project by the Chicago Bears. It depicts a bear in a football-shaped car, decked out in Bears gear.

Painted by artist Anthony Lewellen in 2018, this mural in Berwyn is part of a public art project by the Chicago Bears. It depicts a bear in a football-shaped car, decked out in Bears gear.

Chicago Truborn

The Bears are behind those football-themed murals going up each year in Chicago and the suburbs

The team started the public art project in 2017, drawing on the work of different artists and adding murals each year. Now, Chicago Fire FC has done a mural of its own.

Since 2017, the Chicago Bears have been working with the Chicago Truborn gallery to select artists to paint murals celebrating the team and its fans.

The murals adorn walls around the city and the suburbs. This year’s additions to the Bears public art project were installed in Pilsen, Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Evanston.

The team tries to spread the murals around, says Fernando Arriola, the Bears’ vice president of fan and brand development.

The project is “not as much about the Bears as it was about the artist and what it means to be a Chicagoan,” Chicago Truborn owner Sara Dulkin says.

The painting usually takes about a week for each mural. But Dulkin says that behind-the-scenes work — including selecting a space and working out an agreement with the property owner — can take up to five or six months.

This mural, painted by artist “Amuse” in 2017, was one of the first murals commissioned by the Chicago Bears.

This mural, painted by artist “Amuse” in 2017, was one of the first murals commissioned by the Chicago Bears.

Jordan Miller | Way Up Creative

Some Bears fans have sent Dulkin photos of themselves with the murals, including one of a father and son tossing a football in front of one.

The murals’ images range from cartoon bears in team jerseys to “Chicago style” written in a graffiti-type font, all meant to remind people of the Bears, according to Arriola.

“We want the first reaction to be, ‘That’s a really cool piece of art,’ ” he says, “and the second reaction is: ‘Oh, that’s the Bears.’ ”

Artist “Don’t Fret” painted this mural in 2017 as part of a public art project by the Chicago Bears and Chicago Truborn gallery.

Artist “Don’t Fret” painted this mural in 2017 as part of a public art project by the Chicago Bears and Chicago Truborn gallery.

Jordan Miller | Way Up Creative

Other Chicago teams also are celebrated in murals found around the city. The face of the Cubs’ Kris Bryant decorates a wall of the HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St. There are White Sox images painted in Bridgeport near the South Side ballpark. And now a new mural in the South Loop promotes the Chicago Fire.

The soccer club, recently rebranded as Chicago Fire FC, is moving back next year to Soldier Field, and the mural highlights the team’s new emblem.

This mural, commissioned by the Chicago Fire, was painted this year by artist Max Sansing, who’s shown at left.

This mural, commissioned by the Chicago Fire, was painted this year by artist Max Sansing, who’s shown at left.

Trisikh Sanguanbun / Chicago Fire FC

Max Sansing, the artist who created the Fire mural, says he modeled the mural after the son of a friend with a “bold presence” he chose to “represent Chicago youth.”

The mural, 80 feet high, is the tallest that Sansing, who has painted murals throughout the city, has done. It can be seen on the back wall of the Roosevelt Collection Shops, 150 W. Roosevelt Rd., where it overlooks the British International School soccer field.

It will stay up for at least three years, according to Kyle Sheldon, the Fire’s senior vice president of marketing.

Another soccer mural was done earlier, in 2017 by artist Sam Kirk near 18th Street and Ashland Avenue, though it’s since been painted over.

Commissioned by Major League Soccer and titled “Viva Futbol,” Kirk says the painting was an “All-Star game celebratory mural, which was geared toward highlighting diversity and unity within the game of soccer.”

“Viva Futbol,” a mural in Pilsen done by artist Sam Kirk.

“Viva Futbol,” a mural in Pilsen done by artist Sam Kirk.

Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

“At the time, they were running a campaign titled ‘Stand as One.’ I accepted this commission because it presented an opportunity to celebrate athletes from multiple cultures within one art piece and a game appreciated by the Latino community which was a majority in the Pilsen neighborhood.”

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Chicago’s murals & mosaics


Part of a series on public art in the city and suburbs. Know of a mural or mosaic? Tell us where and send a photo to murals@suntimes.com. We might do a story on it.

Click on the map below for a selection of Chicago-area murals

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