"Pearls of the Universe” is a mural celebrating diversity created on a 70-foot brick wall at 1026 E College Avenue. This was a project of the Wheaton Community Relations Commission, Fine and Cultural Arts Commission and local businesses.
Artist R.J. Ogren was commissioned to create the mural. Ogren’s past work includes painting and creating murals at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, set design, and more than 80 murals.
The project was inspired by a poem by Wheaton North High School graduate Mehret Asgedom. Asgedom came to Wheaton as an Ethiopian refugee as a child.
by Mehret Asgedom
Today I found a pearl, but it was not yet a pearl, and so I went to get sand. Today, I found sand, but it was not yet sand, and so I went to ocean. And when I got to ocean, it was not yet ocean, and so, I cried tears. Then there was ocean. But there was not yet sand, and so I waited. When I could wait no more, I ran the length of ten thousand suns. I ran until there were no more suns, just darkness. Tired I lay my face near the wetness. With my cheeks where my feet had been, I discovered looking back that trail behind me where my heavy feet plod had turned stone to sand. Now there was ocean, and sand. I looked around expectantly for my pearl, but saw no pearl. Tears came again achingly swelling ocean. I stopped weary, my breath matching slow tide and glazing over the waves. Wait. There in the pure water was prize, not one pearl but TWO. Born from trial, blazing like new born sun, my eyes shone - abalone twins. Looking closer still I stared in awe as they revealed the greatest pearl of all.