About a half-dozen volunteers spent Monday morning painting the north side of The Old Dairy restaurant in Macomb a shade of light blue known as “Arctic Wind”. It’s part of an effort to bring more art to the downtown district.
WIU Art Professor Bill Howard said the 80’ x 20’ brick wall will be transformed into a mural depicting the history of Macomb.
“It’s a smorgasbord,” said Howard. “When you step back and look at the full mural, it’s going to take you 45 minutes to take it all in.”
“We’ve got Macomb historical figures: General Macomb, General McDonough, the woman who invented Monopoly. Al Sears is in there. We got that old EAT sign, you remember that sign, we’ve got some cows in there.”
The cows are significant because the project required volunteers to paint over the Old Dairy cow that adorned the northwest corner of the wall. He said the mural will feature a new version of the cow.
Howard said it will take a few days to sketch the mural on the wall once the base coat of paint is in place. He said the public will then be invited to help paint the mural.
“Artistic ability is not a requirement,” said Howard. “It will be paint by numbers. You just have to stay in the lines. You will be team Yellow, you will be team Black, you will be team Purple.”
Howard said the effort to bring more art to downtown Macomb started several years ago with the painting of statues of WIU’s mascot, Rocky and continued with the installation of a series of large metal sculptures. He said eventually a second mural will be added near a downtown sports bar.
“This is an effort of the WIU Art Department, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and the city of Macomb to bring together kind of a community effort,” said Howard. “To bring in some tourism, to decorate the downtown, to showcase some of the local talent here and showcase the local community who is really wants to be involved in kind of transforming the downtown area into a site to come and see.”