Mural celebrates Northwestern graduates, throws love to the world


Courtesy of Ryan Katz

Fifteen purple hearts and a little girl decorate a wall at 829 Foster St.

Rayna Song, Reporter

A little girl in Evanston throws 15 purple hearts out of the window every day, even when it rains. The girl is painted on the side of 829 Foster St., part of a new mural.

Artist Ryan Katz said she painted the mural as a way to celebrate love and the Northwestern class of 2020.

“(The hearts) were supposed to symbolize love, like throwing love out into the world,” Katz said.

Young children are forced to look out of the window during social distancing, Katz said, so she wanted to paint something that showed the beauty of children’s imagination — even when they have to change their atmospheres due to COVID-19.

The hearts were originally designed red, Katz said, but the owner of the building wanted the mural to also relate to NU’s 2020 graduates, so she changed the color to purple.

“We added the big watermark ‘N’ on the bottom because I was hoping people would come by, the students with their caps and gowns, and maybe they would have somewhere to pose in front of,” Katz said.

The mural is a donation from the artist, after she talked with the owner of the building who was willing to donate the wall. Lee Kiser, a real estate broker and friend of the artist, connected Katz with the owner of the building.

Kiser said what he loves most about the mural is that “it’s Ryan.”

“Just this whole concept of pouring love on the world,” Kiser said. “(Katz) is so full of love and caring, and she just wants to pour that out everywhere.”

Kiser said he picked 829 Foster St. as a potential location because the wall is prominent. There is a parking lot nearby, so the wall won’t be obstructed. The building is also next to a Chicago Transit Authority station, and there would be more traffic, he said.

Torie Linner (Communication ’20) said she came back to Evanston in June and took photos on campus. Although Linner did not see the mural in person, she said she thought it was a nice gesture.

“I think it’s a pretty piece of art,” Linner said.

Katz said painting this mural was fun because she could mostly do whatever she wanted with the wall as a canvas.

“I just want my art to make as many people happy as it can,” Katz said. “So to make the hearts purple seemed to cheer the entire area, and that was great.”

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Twitter: @RaynaYu_Song

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