Community Mural Painting Reunites C-U Residents in Urbana
By Manu Ferreira
Champaign-Urbana residents got together on Tuesday to paint the “Reading is Magic” mural in Urbana. The community painting was promoted by Urbana Free Library. The goal was to get local people involved in fun activities.
“The community was part of designing the mural, and now we are in that painting phase. We’ve already got two murals on both sides of Cunningham Township Supervisors' Office, and we are adding this third mural to give folks an opportunity to paint alongside the artist,” says Rachel Storm, the Urbana Arts and Culture Coordinator.
Participants worked with the professional muralist Langston Allston. He has been creating public art since 2017. His work comes from a process of collaboration, reflection, and working closely with peers. “The mural was conceived in a co-work with community members, and we worked out the design over a period of time,” explains Allston.
Volunteers’ engagement surprised the project organization. The whole painting process lasted for only one week and a half. “This moved very quickly because we had so much support from the community. This mural was started last week, and we are on the third part of the mural, which was an additional part,” affirms Storm.
“People seem enthusiastic about working, which is why we’re doing an additional wall. Everybody that is coming it’s been really excited about making paintings and putting themselves to work,” says Langston Allston.
Passwolf heard about the community painting online on social media and registered herself and her mom to work as volunteers. She is proud of her decision. "I love the context and the style of it, so it’s really exciting that I’ll be able to see it, drive by it, and it will be like ‘oh, I helped to paint that’.”
Rachel Storm also encourages people to apply for the 2022 Urbana Art Grants. It funds all sorts of art projects that are accessible to the public, such as exhibitions, dance, film, video, music, theater, visual arts, crafts, performing arts, and more. “We really want art to thrive in this city and to be a huge part of the city life.”
To celebrate the new mural, the Urbana Free Library will promote an unveiling and a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at 11:30 A.M. The event is open to the public.