Why I support public art and why you should, too

The Downer Place Wall is full of color in Aurora, IL. Fundraising efforts are underway to get a permanent mural installed on the wall, located behind Paul and Bill’s.

I suppress many emotions, but one of the thing(s) I get emotional about is the community coming together and creating enjoyment for all. It’s the best.

Recently, murals have come into the spotlight in Aurora with a new mural ordinance in effect (Did I use that correctly? Why has the internet made me super nervous about effect vs. affect?). The city of Aurora put out a bid for mural RFPs due on June 16.

Last year, a handful of community members got together and invited others to join in to Draw on the Wall, the wall located on Downer Place behind Paul and Bill’s Service Station.

A bunch of great people showed up. People of all kinds and of all ages. Many were strangers. But there was instant camaraderie. It was beautiful.

The wall has evolved slightly over time thanks to local artists maintaining it. A handful of folks are taking the much-needed time to raise money and make a plan for a permanent mural (one that still relies on the antiquated sign ordinance since it is outside of downtown).

As I ride my bike up that hill on Downer Place, I feel a sense of pride and much gratitude. We have a community that gives their time to enhance our city and the lives of everyone who glances over at the bright green leaves, the faded Marie Wilkinson, and the behemoth moth.

These amazing people decided to spend their time adding beauty to their city. They could have been doing anything (well, within reason) and they chose to do something that makes people smile. They aren’t getting recognition or a paycheck. But the rewards are huge and arguably priceless. They are creating community and a sense of place.

It’s bigger than them. It’s about living in the moment. It’s about experiencing what only art can make us feel.

Public art means people stopping, looking, playing, having fun, and enjoying their surroundings. Not everyone needs to love it. They just need to see it. They need to take it in. Think about it. Contemplate it. Love it or hate it. Just support it.

Marissa Amoni is someone living the American Dream in Aurora, Ill. 

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