The United Way of Kankakee & Iroquois Counties ended its recent 21-week Equity Challenge with the unveiling of the Community Equity Mural Design Contest winner. Allison Beecher, of Kankakee, and her original artwork, “We are Stronger Together” received 64.5 percent of public votes. Runners up included Paul Laue, of Kankakee, and his submission “We All Live Here Together, “and Trenna VanVleck, of Bourbonnais, with “Different People, Same Heart.”
"My design is based on the concept of unity and strength through diversity and community,” explained winning mural artist, Allison Beecher. “I chose the phrase ‘We are stronger together and translated it into the most common languages spoken in the central Illinois region, putting them into different fonts to further represent the beauty in our diversity. At the bottom of the mural is a mosaic-style design of people holding hands, with a space in the middle and on either end for community members to join in."
As a result of the United Way of Kankakee & Iroquois Counties’ Equity Challenge, 120 of the 270 participants resided in Bourbonnais where the mural will be born. Bourbonnais’ first outdoor mural will be located at 481 South Main Street (IL Route 45/52) where Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant currently resides.
"We are excited to be a part of the United Way equity project,” expressed property owner, Amanda Armer-Irps. “We have always thought that the building would be a great spot for a billboard! We are committed to assisting our local United Way in their mission. The mural is an amazing example of unity!"
"It's great to see community members come together to make this happen. We could not have gotten this far without the support of Lindy Casey and the Village of Bourbonnais, Amanda Martinez, United Way Board member, Mike O'Brien, United Way Board President, and our community volunteers and artists. We hope to see this mural bring hope and encourage our community to continue learning through the 21-week equity challenge resources provided by the United Way of Illinois."
Painting has commenced with paint donations provided by Lowe’s Home Improvement. The project is anticipating completion in fall 2021, followed by an official community reveal.