A trip to Bali. A galaxy in outer space. A home away from home.
These are just some of the places Teresa Parod hopes to take you in her latest public art series that just happens to be in her alley. It was after seeing an artist in Cuba transform a mundane space — and with a little push from her son — that she realized she could do the same.
“It just made me see where you could take a place that was just lackluster and make it into something really special,” Parod said. “Then I came back and painted my garage. I didn’t know how the neighbors would react. I was a little worried. But they liked it, and then they all asked me to paint their garages.
“I give them drawings to choose from, or we created something based on what they want. I use house paint and I’m lucky that I work with a professional house painter who gives advice. I take a picture of the garage, print it, draw on it, hand it to the people see what they think, and we go from there.”
Neighbors say Parod’s paintings have transformed their alley into a garden, among other things.
“Teresa had the brilliant idea to make a place that is not normally generally beautiful into a place of beauty and tranquility,” neighbor Laura Latimer said.
“Now we have an alley that people want to spend time in,” said another neighbor, Jane Parisho. “It was COVID entertainment for a while. They’d say: ‘Well you’ve got to go down this alley.’”
“We would always walk around Evanston to see the murals,” the Manning family said. “So it’s really that finally there’s one on our garage.”
But it doesn't end on her block. Parod’s paint brush has dipped into a couple of other alleys in Evanston, and she hopes she’s able to transform as many garages as her neighbors will allow.
“I also think it’s a surprise,” she said. “You come down the alley and you’re not expecting to see an alley full of paintings. It’s fun because I’ll see people walking their dog or riding their bike and are like, ‘Wait what is this?’”
Parod is booked through the season, but she does have a waiting list for next year. You can find more information about her work by visiting her website.
Note: This story was originally published July 28, 2020. It has been updated.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.