June 17, 2021
On Saturday, June 12 and Saturday, June 19, Palatine Park District will be hosting a group of volunteers that have dedicated their time and effort to improving a section of Palatine Trail. For years, the underpass tunnel at Hicks Road has been a hotspot for graffiti to be thrown on the walls. Compared to the rest of the path, with its natural landscape, inviting parks, and peaceful atmosphere, this section has seemed out of place. As of July 2021, two large scale murals will be painted on the tunnel walls. One depicting a sunset bike ride, something many patrons have experienced, while using the path itself. The other, six beautiful eyes showcasing different skin tones to represent the diversity in the area and of our country.
A community is only as strong as its most dedicated members. This is true in the case of Samira Alhosini and her daughter Jasmine, Palatine residents and artists, who had this great idea. They have been able to put together this inspiring project with the help of their family and friends, the skill and motivation to undertake the large project, and the desire to improve Palatine. With the help of a group of volunteers and the local Palatine Home Depot, this idea will become a reality. Home Depot, a staple in the community, heard Samira’s plan and was inspired to donate all the necessary materials to create a mural that people could enjoy on their walk or bike rides.
Samira Alhosini got the idea for the project while going on a walk with her family in early March. “It looked like there was some recently painted graffiti on the walls of the tunnel. Although there were good bits and pieces of couples’ names with hearts and smiley faces, there were more than enough negative drawings, swear words, and hateful graffiti which made us want to cover it up with a positive message.” Jasmine and Samira will undertake the two-day project with help from volunteers who Samira described as, “close artistic coworkers, and friends who are positive-minded individuals, and artists who are very passionate and supportive of our idea and wanted to help us better our community and leave their print on the world using their creative minds.”
Volunteers Working to Clean Up Underpass
When asked if she had ever done anything like this project before, she said, “My daughter [Jasmine] and I have talked about doing good in the world for a few years now, possibly protesting for causes we both believe in, or volunteering in our community to make a positive change, but there always seemed to be barriers. When we had the idea to paint the tunnel, it seemed a lot more feasible since we are both artists, and everyone we spoke to from the Palatine Park District was extremely helpful and supportive of our idea. So, once we got the green light to execute our project, we got to planning and recruiting, to make our vision become a reality.”
“The project itself is doing art justice by stating that it should not be used to make the world more negative,” Samira said. “As artists we recognize that art is a universal language that transcends spoken languages. We want to use our art to leave a positive imprint on the world.”
Another very important participant in this project is Home Depot in Palatine. This project would not be possible without their generous donation and desire to help impact the community for the better. Pro Department Supervisor, Al Hergott spoke about their role, “For me, community is very important in the growth and development of our youth. Working at Home Depot gives me great opportunity to show just how a business such as Home Depot and a community like Palatine can help beautify and bring people together, like what is being done in the tunnel for everyone to appreciate. We can’t wait to see the completed project.”