By Heart of Illinois ABC
BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington City Council revisited the topic of a public arts commission that would fund local art projects, such as murals, statues, and sidewalk art throughout Bloomington. However, funding and spending was one area of concern.
“If we all sit around talking about how we love public art, then we have to be willing to put our money where our mouth is,” said Bloomington Council Member Jenn Carrillo. “If we say we value it, then we’ve got to be willing to pay for it.”
Just hours before the meeting, the West Bloomington Revitalization Project dedicated a new mural that features an image of George Floyd and a poem written by kids of the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal.
Yovana Milosevic, an Illinois Wesleyan student, helped put together a program for kids to creatively express themselves through poetry. Originally, her idea was to compile a collection of their poems but instead, they turned from pen and paper to words and walls.
“We had this idea why not bring in a visual artist and some public art in Bloomington because that is a way to invest in community,” said Milosevic.
Mural artist Bruce Clark delicately balanced remembering Floyd while also elevating younger voices.
“I see the words coming out of the mouths themselves almost creating a cocoon or protection around the face of George Floyd,” said Clark.
Steps away from the George Floyd dedicated mural is another that reads “West Side Pride,” which embodies the passion of revamping West Bloomington and pushing for more local art.
“How do we look at our community and art on a local scale? Because when you look at TV and media, do you really see yourselves in those representations if you’re a student of color or you’ve been through certain adversities? Probably not. So I think every community needs to make an effort to make a reflection of public art in that community,” said Milosevic.
Bloomington City Council did not make an official decision in their meeting but are in favor of continuing the dialogue to bring more public art to Bloomington.
Heart of Illinois ABC can be reached at News@WJBC.com.