A "Spread Good News This Pride" community mural was unveiled at 3524 N. Clark St. in Lakeview June 10. The Cresco Labs Good News cannabis brand sponsored the mural, which queer Chicago artist Zeye One created.
Speakers included Cresco Labs Chief Communications Officer Jason Erkes, Center on Halsted CEO Modesto "Tico" Valle and state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz.
For each written message on the mural, Good News will donate $5 to the center's Open Gym Program, up to $15,000. The mural will remain at this location throughout June and then be donated to Center on Halsted where it will be installed in the third floor reception area.
"Good News is part of Cresco Labs' portfolio of national cannabis brands," said Erkes in an email statement. "Cresco Labs is a vertically integrated multistate cannabis operator headquartered in Chicago. Good News is a mainstream, social occasion-based cannabis brand offering products like gummy edibles and disposable vape pens that are perfect for celebrating life's best social moments. Good News embodies the value of togetherness and takes action to encourage togetherness for good."
Erkes opened the event celebrating Pride Month as well as the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Chicago and across the state. He said that this was the perfect moment to put Zeye One's mural up as a way to bring people together. Erkes invited the attendees and future visitors to share their good news on the bottom of the mural.
Valle said "there is much to celebrate" and that he is "honored" to a part of this initiative. He added that Good News has committed to supporting the Center's community and health and wellness sports programs.
"It is wonderful to bring the community together like this, especially after a year of trauma and be able to heal and express ourselves [in this way]," said Valle.
"We are so delighted to be here today," said Feigenholtz. "Not just because tomorrow we are free at last [from the COVID-19 restrictions] and after a really difficult year. … I am delighted to have Cresco here and [acknowledge] the support they are giving to the LGBTQ community."
In a statement to Windy City Times during the event Zeye One said, "It means a lot to me [to be asked to create this mural] and it is amazing that the queer community is getting the opportunity to voice that it is okay to be you [with these messages]. Chicago has so much beautiful diversity and when we come together it makes it even better."
"After such a difficult last 15 months for our city, positive messages are needed now more than ever," said state Rep. Margaret Croke (who was unable to attend the event) in a statement released to the press. "Not only will Good News be adding a special mural to our neighborhood, they will be supporting such an important organization, Center on Halsted, in the process. I am proud this unique Pride event is taking place in our community, and look forward to visiting the mural and reading these inspiring messages in the weeks to come."
Good News Brand Director Dana Mason told Windy City Times that everyone who wrote a message on the mural later that afternoon would be able to receive free tacos and drinks at Moe's Cantina.
Mason added that the company is also offering a Pride gummy and disposable vape pen while supplies last during Pride Month at any Sunnyside dispensary and select similar businesses in Illinois.