During a weekend workshop, local students helped paint part of a large, public mural titled “Local Heroes” by muralist Danielle Mastrion at the new Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Hub along the 10th Street corridor in downtown Springfield.
The mural is 61 feet wide and 47 feet tall and highlights several portraits of people that played a significant role in the community, the state and/or nation as well as other significant items related to Sangamon County and Illinois, including the state capitol, Lincoln’s Home, Route 66, native flora and the founding year of the county. The mural also features the state bird, tree and insect.
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 with experience in very large-scale murals and concepts for murals that would be installed at The Hub.
“We are so thankful to the advisory committee for donating their time and talent to help the county select the artist and concept,” said Lori Williams, Sangamon County Board member. “The county has been committed to supporting the arts in various places at the new Hub and in the current renovation of the county building. We hope this very large mural and the other one that was installed in the summer will lead to other art installations across the county.”
After selecting Mastrion’s concept for this mural, the advisory committee worked with her to finalize the design.
“It was exciting to work with other committee members from the local arts community as well as other community leaders to select the artist and come to an agreement on a beautiful concept that will help inspire other public art projects in the county,” said Erin Svendsen, mural advisory member and Springfield Art Association’s director of education. “Whenever a public entity invests in the arts, that should be celebrated and shared widely.”
“What a wonderful experience it has been working with everyone who has made this project possible,” added Michelle Smith, mural advisory member and local artist. “It is amazing to see this mural come to life.”
“As a young person growing up near this mural, it makes me so proud to see how this process all came together and the mural celebrates some of our most well-known presidents who spent part of their careers in Springfield as well as other residents who made a big impact,” said Zhavi Harris, mural advisory committee member and marketing professional. “I hope this mural inspires many people for generations to come.”
After the design was finalized and approved, the county, the committee and artist hosted a mural project at Southeast High School and invited schools across the county to nominate high school students to participate. During that event in 2022, the students asked if they could help Mastrion install part of the mural when she was installing it at the Hub.
“It is so exciting that we were able to come back and help Danielle with the mural at the Hub,” said Charlie Dickenson, student at Tri-City High School. “To be part of such a historic project in our county is something we can all be proud of. I am so grateful to Sangamon County leaders and the artist for offering this opportunity to us.”
The Springfield Art Association and Mastrion are also hosting a “Coffee with the Artist” on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 1 p.m. for area artists and community members to meet her and learn more about installing large public murals and share other ideas.
“It is so awesome that the mural advisory committee selected this concept and me to install this mural at their new Hub,” Mastrion said. “It has been so wonderful to work with the youth on this project, maybe it will inspire them to design and install murals when they grow up.”