Harold Washington College, the Student Government Association, and the Harold Washington Centennial Celebration Committee Commission Mural That Embodies the Leadership, Energy and Spirit of Chicago’s First Black Mayor, Harold Washington


The mural, which is located inside Harold Washington College, stands at 8 feet tall and 40 feet wide: Watch some of the press conference here on Fox Chicago

In 2022, Harold Washington College celebrated the100th birthday (4/15) of its namesake and Chicago’s first Black Mayor —Harold Washington —and as an extension of that 2022 celebration, Harold Washington College, the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Harold Washington Centennial Celebration Committee commissioned artist Judith Mayer to create a visual piece that would capture the spirit and essence of Chicago’s great visionary, Mayor Harold Washington.

“Mayor Harold Washington will always be remembered as one of the city’s most historic leaders and greatest organizers,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “The new mural at Harold Washington College will stand as a beautiful and lasting testament to Mayor Washington’s legacy. The students of Harold Washington College passing by the mural each day will come to know of his work to engage diverse communities and bring Chicago together.”

To see the mural come alive, watch as students, faculty and staff help paint it!

“Mayor Harold Washington’s breathtaking 40-foot mural is complete and on behalf of our entire family, we are thrilled,” said Karen Stone, niece of Harold Washington. “The bigger than life tribute rivals our Uncle Harold’s altruistic personality and it is an active crowning glory to his legacy of creating a better Chicago through education and inclusivity. He was a unifier and the mural and its messages to Chicago are now more important today than ever before. The mural is also a testament to the open horizon, the possibilities, for Chicago’s up and coming leaders of today and tomorrow!”

“Harold Washington College core values closely align with the late Mayor’s vision of a unified and better Chicago, and we hope this mural captures his work in government, and his charismatic personality,” said President Daniel Lopez, Harold Washington College. “He broke barriers and inspired generations to lead and that’s why we are proud that his image and the entire work of art graces the walls of our college that bears his name.”

In tandem with Mayor Washington’s vision of a better Chicago, Harold Washington College offers this free class that gives us the tools on how to affect positive change in our communities. https://thecitizenscampaign.org/

Summer session registration is open now until June 3.  My.CCC.edu

Approximately 16 different colors of paint were used and about 43 volunteers helped to paint the mural including Harold Washington College students, faculty, staff and administrative leaders. The painting took several weeks and dozens of hours to complete.

“This incredible mural gives us a glimpse of Mayor Harold Washington’s larger than life personality and incredible leadership during a turbulent time, and it is our hope the mural will continue to inspire our students to realize their inner power and understand that all is possible when you do the work. The mural—the art—binds all of us to Harold Washington College and to one another and for this, I’m grateful.” said Chancellor Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago.

Mayor Harold Washington was one of the nation’s most historic and significant municipal leaders. The political environment at that time was racially charged but despite that, Washington was elected in February 1983 and served until his death on November 25, 1987.

About the muralist: Judith Mayer is an artist and designer living and working in Chicago—born and raised in the Midwest and the daughter of an immigrant. After working at several Chicago design firms, she started her own practice 25 years ago. Her work is influenced by graphic design and a love for mid-century modern and pop art. She has had her work recognized and published in over 40 books and magazines, including Communication Arts, Uppercase Magazine, and HOW Magazine, and has work included in the Chicago Design Archive. She has a BFA from Ball State University, has served as Vice President of Marketing for South Shore Arts for 20 years; and has served as Professional Programs Director for Society of Typographic Arts. Creating public art is a big part of her practice. Recent projects include a mural in Costa Rica, a collection of 14 murals in Ainslie Arts Plaza in Chicago, and representing Illinois in a collaborative 19th Amendment flag design, displayed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and at the William J. Clinton Library and Museum in Arkansas.