Wednesday, December 14, 2016

We Can Use Your Help as a Volunteer

A wonderful way to stay connected with the arts is to volunteer your time for a special event, art class, or fundraiser at the Decatur Area Arts Council.  Whether your business is looking for an organization to support with volunteer time, or you are a student with community service hours to fulfill, or you just have skills and expertise to share, we can use you. Opportunities range from daytime to evening, recurring to periodic, throughout the year.

  • Gallery Opening Events, generally held on the first Friday of each month, a few of the volunteer roles include greeter, set up and clean up, and refreshments.
  • Special Events at Madden Arts Center, such as arts events for kids, entertainment events, and artist presentations, require assistance similar to the gallery opening events.
  • Performing Arts Series for Students hosts six to seven morning performances for school children at Kirkland Fine Arts Center during the school year. Volunteers are needed to greet bus loads of students and usher them to their seats 
  • Arts in Central Park, an annual art fair held the third weekend of September, has volunteer opportunities that include information table,  kids art activities, artist hospitality, as well as set up and load out. 
  • Corks and Forks, our annual April fundraising event, is most successful with help on the planning committee, along with set up and clean up on the day of the event and various tasks during the event.
  • Decatur Craft Beer Festival, a fundraiser held annually in September, has many of the same needs as Corks and Forks.

All year long, we are blessed with volunteers who provide us with hundreds of hours of assistance on these programs among others.  If you'd like to join us, please call 217-423-3189 or email

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It’s an Exciting Time for Public Art in Decatur.

From murals to sculptures and more, momentum surrounding public art projects in Decatur has been building gradually over the past few years.



The Decatur Mural Project was established in 2012 to create partnerships with artists, property owners, the City, local volunteers, and sponsors or funding agencies for the creation of murals for the beautification of Decatur buildings. The murals are also intended to showcase the creative abilities of our local artists.

The project’s first mural was painted on the west side of the Central Illinois Title Co. building, 145 S. Water St. during the July 4th weekend 2013.  The mural depicts our city’s namesake Commodore Stephen Decatur leading a daring, night-time raid to destroy an enemy ship.  It was sponsored by Main Place Properties and was painted by its designer Jerry Johnson, local artist and Executive Director of the Decatur Area Arts Council.

In 2015, a group of private citizens commissioned local artist Shani Goss to design and paint a mural in honor of the Decatur’s late Mayor MikeMcElroy.  It was painted during the Decatur Celebration weekend on the west-facing wall of 240 N. Park St., directly across from Central Park. The design includes McElroy's signature smile and symbols and colors to represent his personality and love of Decatur.

A few weeks later, Jerry Johnson and group of volunteers completed another mural on the west wall of 111 E. Main St.  Sponsored by the Nims Foundation, the mural features Decatur Staleys and Chicago Bears football players, along with George Halas (young and old) paying homage to Decatur's heritage as the birthplace of the Chicago Bears.

2016 mural plans include another Shani Goss design at 702 E. Eldorado St. (east facing wall) in July (and maybe a second later in the year).

Read more about the Decatur Mural Project here…


The Scovill Sculpture Park arose from a conversation in October 2015 involving the Decatur Parks Foundation, Decatur Park District, Children’s Museum of Illinois, Decatur Area Arts Council, and Neuhoff Media.  Located between Scovill Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Illinois, the Scovill Sculpture Park will include 12 temporary sculptures, plus one permanent sculpture to serve as the centerpiece of the park.  The initial group of temporary sculptures will be installed on July 14 and 15, 2016 with a Community Walk on July 16.  The temporary pieces will be replaced with a new group of sculptures every two years.  The entire project was funded by a generous $250,000 gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

And More…

In addition to murals and sculptures, Decatur will enjoy artistic embellishment in 2016 through an official City of Decatur public art project.  The City has invited artists residing in Macon County to submit designs to be installed as vinyl “wraps” on electrical boxes located throughout Decatur, with the first group targeting downtown locations. The City will work with The Decatur Area Arts Council Public Art Committee on outreach and consultation related to the review of submissions.  The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 8 with the wraps to be installed later that month.

All of this is in addition to the many wonderful public art pieces that already grace many of our city’s parks, campuses, and building (inside and out),  So, keep your eyes open for these and other public art projects appearing all over the city in 2016.  Yes, it’s an exciting time for public art in Decatur indeed.