A large, public mural, the “Corridor in History & Development” by muralist Jared Bader, is being installed at the new Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Hub on 11th Street in downtown Springfield. The artist expects to finish the project later this week
The mural is 61.5 feet wide and 31.5 feet high and features numerous scenes and people from Sangamon County history. The mural is located at the SMTD Transfer Center on 11th Street.
In 2021, the Sangamon County Board appointed a community mural advisory committee to write and publish a request for proposals, evaluate the proposals and offer recommendations for artists and concepts for murals that would be installed at The Hub. The advisory committee included representatives from nearby neighborhood associations, elected officials, administrators from the City of Springfield, Sangamon County and the local art community.
“We are grateful to the mural advisory committee for lending their time and expertise to help the county select the artist and concept for this space,” said Lori Williams, Sangamon County Board member. “The massive size of the mural is very impressive. We believe this art at the Hub will serve as a local history lesson for everyone who sees it. Viewers will learn more about the history of transportation, this local corridor and some of the people in our history.”
After selecting Bader for this mural, the advisory committee worked with him to finalize the design that includes current and historical landmarks and some people who were important in Sangamon County history. Among them are the highest-ranking Black officer who served in World War I and the first president of Horace Mann Insurance. The county has an interactive webpage where visitors can click on some of the features in the mural to learn more about who and what is featured.
“It has been exciting to work with our fellow committee members and the artist on this mural that will be a beautiful feature along 11th Street and the new rail corridor,” said Angela Harris, former president of Pioneer Park Homeowner’s Association and a member of the advisory committee. “This mural will not only help beautify this corridor, but will also serve as a place of pride for the neighborhoods surrounding the new Hub.”
After the design was finalized and approved, the artist began painting large panels on mural cloth in his studio to prepare them for installation. Bader also prepared panels for area students to paint to be part of the mural project during The Painting Your History experience last year. During the experience, students from more than a dozen Sangamon County schools came to Lincoln Magnet School, located across the street from The Hub, to paint part of the mural.
“It was so exciting and fun to be able to work with the artist and students from all over the county to paint parts of the mural. I was nervous at first, thinking how can a bunch of kids paint part of a mural that’s supposed to represent our city? When I realized it was a paint-by-numbers experience, I knew we’d be able to have a great time and still make a beautiful piece of history,” said Emi Chon, mural experience participant and current District 186 student. “It is something we can all be proud of, and we’ll be able to share it with our friends and family for years to come. We were part of something special here.”
“I am so grateful that the community chose me to install this mural that I hope connects the art to the specific location of the new Hub,” Bader said. “It illustrates the idea of public transportation throughout Springfield history that can enable all people to access work and gain upward mobility, and it highlights some of the contributions of Sangamon County residents.”
Bader is a professional muralist with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the fine arts. He hails from Pennsylvania and has been commissioned to create a variety of murals for public spaces and private residences.
Later this year, another mural will be installed on the other side of the 11th Street mural that faces the west and 10th Street railroad tracks.
The budget for the production and installation of both murals is $217,525.