City brings art to lot destroyed by December fire


Adnaan Zaffer/The Daily Northwestern

A mural is being created on the fence surrounding an empty lots on the corner of Davis Street and Oak Avenue. The lot was once home to Taco Diablo and other businesses, which were destroyed in a fire in December 2013.

Jennifer Ball, Assistant City Editor

Local artists will be working throughout the next few weeks to create a mural surrounding empty lots on the corner of Davis Street and Oak Avenue, where a fire in December 2013 destroyed three local businesses.

The artists will create the mural on the fence surrounding the lots, which will include colors that represent Evanston’s three zip codes: brown for land and 60201; blue for the lake and 60202; and green for wilderness and 60203.

“Orange is used to represent the common thread of community that ties us together, and is used throughout the pattern,” project designer Jason Brown said in an email to the Daily.

Brown, known as “The Zip Code Kid,” said he’s been experimenting with this art form for a few years.

“The art form is called Geocommunetrics which simply means place-based community-scale imaging,” Brown said in the email. “It’s a form I have been using for the past few years as proxy for exploring community identities.”

Brown said he is working with several other local artists on the project, which is called “Geocommunetrics: An Intersection of Evanstons.” It will be completed by the end of the month, the designer said.

In his Twitter biography, Brown wrote some of the reasons why he cares about the community.

“Place matters, space closes, time compresses,” his bio reads. “Love God, love your neighbor, build just neighborhoods. I’m trying for #Evanston & #RogersPark. Join me.”

The fire, which destroyed three businesses in December 2013, began at Pine Yard Restaurant, 1033 Davis St., and spread to TechniColour Nail & Day Spa, 1031 Davis St., and Taco Diablo, 1029 Davis St.

Taco Diablo owner Daniel Kelch now owns the building across the street, 1026 Davis St. In June 2015, he plans to reopen Taco Diablo and Lulu’s at the new property, he told The Daily in September.

The city piloted the public art project as part of an effort to bring public art to areas under construction, Brown said. The project serves the dual purpose of bringing more public art to the community and keeping certain areas from being eyesores, he said.

George Radaios, the current owner of the empty lot, said he is not sure what will replace the three businesses destroyed in 2013.

Kelch said the original plan was to rebuild the brick building that stood in the space before. However, the city is still determining which businesses will be licensed to open in that location, he said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jennifercball