A Loose History of Evanston’

Dan Hill

Evanston Township High School graduate Theodore Boggs gave his city a colorful history lesson in 2002. After several graffiti designs on a retaining wall in the parking lot on the northeast side of the intersection of Emerson St and Green Bay Rd were defaced, Boggs submitted plans for the current work for his senior studies project. Drawing from the New Deal public arts pieces of the Works Projects Administration and Chicago’s storied history of wall painting, Boggs worked with the Evanston Historical Society and his friends in the art group “Talent and Wisdom” to create a timeline titled “A Loose History of Evanston” complete with arrows that carry viewers from one image to the next.

“The timeline was one of the tools we used to convey motion and a history concept similar to the caveman era,” Boggs said. “Every time I drive by it, I see it differently.”

There are about 30 murals in Evanston, according to Arts Council Director Jeff Cory. There was a rise in Evanston’s mural paintings in the late 90s, Cory said there are currently no organized programs to maintain or restore public works like Boggs’ 10 by 112 foot “Loose History.”

“A lot of murals are community based and not meant to stand for all time,” Cory said.Kevin Wiley, owner of the currency exchange that services Western Union in the building adjacent to the retaining wall on which Boggs’ work appears, said he supports the public artwork.

“Everybody comes, stops, looks at it, and they get educated because they don’t really know about what happened,” he said.