The Roots of Argyle mural is a centennial celebration of the historic movers and shakers of the community that made up Argyle Street from 1900 to 2000. The artist chose the front doorway façade of the old Essanay Studios on Argyle Street as the main architectural motif of the mural.
The five generation periods are each represented through the doorway façade or “time portal.” The left side of the mural shows a sequence of portals for the time periods – 1980–1960, 1960–1940, 1940–1920 and 1920–1900. The center of the mural depicts in a trompe l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) fashion the continuation of the brick building located behind the mural. A large opening in the building reveals a ship similar to one immigrants arrived in coming to the US. A set of three kiosks displays the word “welcome” in the immigrants’ home languages. On the right side of the mural is painted the 2000–1980 portal and to the left is the last portal representing contemporary times and the future.
In each of the six portals, immigrants from the last century pass from their home country into the plaza of Argyle Street history.