MACOMB, Il – Three local professional artists, all of whom have direct connections to Western Illinois University (WIU), were recently awarded the Citizen of the Year award for 2019 by Macomb Mayor Michael Inman.
Mr. William “Bill” Howard, WIU Department of Art Professor, Mr. Michael Mahoney-WIU Department of Art Professor Emeritus, and Mr. Henry “Duke” Oursler-WIU Department of Art Assistant Professor, were recognized for their collaboration and bringing the community together, in the Summer of 2019 through a mural project in Macomb’s Historic Downtown.
The mural was painted on the exterior of the north side of The Old Dairy restaurant, a community staple located in the 200 block of South Lafayette St. Through the “Old Dairy Community Mural Project”, Howard and Mahoney’s vision was executed by Oursler and a diverse group of literally hundreds of community members. The all-volunteer project “speaks” about and “celebrates” Macomb’s heritage in a prominent visual work of art.
Owners of The Old Dairy, Emily and Marc Gamage, as well as Macomb Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry and Jock Hedblade, Executive Director of the Macomb Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, all praised the vision of the three artists and the work of the volunteers from the community in making the vision a reality.
“We have many outstanding community members, but these three really exemplify commitment and dedication to the greater community, through public art”, said Mayor Inman. Downtown Development Director Kristin Terry noted, “The mural project will have a long-lasting positive impact on the community”.