There are new mini-murals going up at the pedestrian underpass at 57th and Lake Shore Drive. On the day I took these photos (10/20/09), the tile-setter was beginning the process of grouting them, so these images depict the work ungrouted. (The grout the artist chose is a nice dark-gray.)
The artist is a Hyde Park resident, Mirtes Zwierzynski, working in collaboration with local schools. The project is funded by the Harper Court Arts Council and Chicago's non-profit After School Matters (an organization you may have heard of because of their Gallery37 summer program).
The theme of the mosaics is supposed to be Midwestern flora and fauna, but the kids seem to have interpreted the theme pretty liberally, which is fine with me given how cute this little guy is (above).
In general, they are sweet examples of what a collector might call "naive folk art," and they brighten and add interest to the space. I like the spare use of the mirrored tiles, which I think are somewhat overdone in the 47th Street underpass (although I know that's a matter of taste).
This underpass is better protected from the elements than any of the Metra viaducts that are currently getting mural makeovers by the Chicago Public Art Group. So, barring graffiti artists and taggers, they should have a long life with little maintenance.