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Urban Art Taking Downtown Aurora By Storm

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Between August and December, 30 new murals popped up in west suburban Aurora. Morning insider Marissa Parra spoke to the artists behind the paintings.

No drum needed when you can dance to the beat of your own, and public artist Sam Cervantes has spent a lifetime of doing just that.

"It's art, you know? Whether people understand it or not," he said.

Street art is exactly what it sounds like, including his on a wall in downtown Aurora. But the urban expression is sometimes misunderstood.

"They kind of lumped it in with gang graffiti," Cervantes said.

The difference is street art is both legal and accessible.

Artist Rafael Blanco spent 20 years as a classical artist before swapping canvas with city walls.

"I do like public art more, because it has much more potential. Because it's outside, anyone can see it. With studio art, it's much more private," he said.

His latest is one of many popping up in downtown Aurora.

21.1.17 downtown public art map numbered
(Source: City of Aurora)

"This year we did 30 new murals, 17 of those were on our new graffiti wall that we're really excited and proud of," said Jenn Byrne, director of public art for the city of Aurora.

The new murals not only breathe color on the streets, they inspire.

"That's what kept me off the streets, kept me away from gangs, and serious drugs. It's powerful, you know?" Cervantes said.

Take a trip to Aurora and take a walking tour to see for yourself. The city promises there's more to come.

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