Paint a mural over windows to obscure sizable suburban development going up next door

A restaurant in downtown Glen Ellyn found itself next to a large new building that obscured the view from some its windows. The solution? Paint a mural:

The Apex 400 development, a new apartment building, is rising next door to the Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant along Main Street. A parking garage that’s still under construction stands almost right up against the exterior wall of the popular dining spot, blocking its southern-facing windows.

Stuck staring out at concrete, the family owners of the restaurant — serving Glen Ellyn for nearly 40 years — sought to give their customers new views…

The mural project became a collaboration between Cudworth and the second-generation owners of Santa Fe, siblings Reyna and Olga Jiménez. Their parents, Irineo and Teresa Jimenez, opened the restaurant and raised six children…

He first expanded an existing hacienda mural in the back of the restaurant to 22 feet wide. In the front, he stretched canvas over the two boarded-up, framed windows and painted from photographs that he was given and researched of San Miguel, Mexico.

This is the fear some property owners have when a nearby property is redeveloped: the new structure will significantly alter access to sun, light, and/or loom over their existing property. Where once diners could look out the window, now sits a large wall. This may be the price to be paid for denser suburban downtowns where there is interest in denser, mixed-use properties near restaurants, cultural opportunities, and train lines to provide more “surban” spaces.

This solution of painting a mural is a clever one given the options. While this is not public art since it is inside a property, it has similar functions: to complement what the business provides, to enhance the aesthetics of the space, and involve other members of the community/area. It can be difficult to move on from the loss of natural light yet this art may obscure for future diners that windows were once here.

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