MENDOTA – The Mendota Union Depot mural project is on track for painting and structural work to begin in the next few weeks and its unveiling during the Sweet Corn Festival in August.
MENDOTA – The Mendota Union Depot mural project is on track for painting and structural work to begin in the next few weeks and its unveiling during the Sweet Corn Festival in August. Mendota area residents are invited to information presentations on Tuesday, Feb. 8 and Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Main Street Station Bar & Grill, 714 Main St., Mendota.
Appetizers and sweets will be served. Face masks will be encouraged and will be available at the door. For more information, visit the project Facebook page – Mendota Union Depot Art Piece – or call Michelle Wade at (815) 343-3615.
Wade will provide updates and milestones on the project she envisions as a tribute to the iconic depot and the impact railroading has had in the Mendota area for more than a century. The 127 by 50-foot mural will be installed on the south side of Triple Service, Inc., the family business, at 801 Monroe St.
Wade leads the project and has an eight-member volunteer Citizens Committee raising awareness, gathering information about railroading, seeking grant funding opportunities, and fundraising.
“Great news—it’s time to start painting,” said Wade. “I am thrilled that we conquered a huge milestone by raising half of the funds needed to keep this project on track.
“We set a robust timeline and through the hard work, dedication for community and love for this town, our community has come together to share the historical need of this piece," she added. "So many look forward to seeing the beauty of this building and hearing the stories that will come from it. I love hearing stories from those who share my love of Mendota and want to do more in order to improve our wonderful town.”
Wade will be joined by Julia Mautino Messina, executive director of North Central Illinois (NCI) ARTworks, who counts the mural project as the fifth work of public art along its Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour (a tourism attraction for visitors to the region with public art currently in Streator, Princeton, Cherry and Mendota). Additional speakers include a representative of the Citizens Committee and DeAnna Carlson, NCI ARTworks liaison to the committee.
“NCI ARTworks’ helps connect communities through art,” said Messina. “The installation of this impressive work of public art in Mendota honors the city’s vibrant past as a rail hub and could play a significant role in revitalizing the downtown area by attracting visitors and encouraging new businesses to open nearby.”
The presentations also will include artistic renderings of the depot, locomotive, promenade and the cast-aluminum plaques available as tributes that will be permanently installed within the mural.
The mural is a half-scale painting of the iconic 250 by 100-foot Mendota Union Depot that was built in 1888 and demolished in 1942. It will be constructed of hand-painted aluminum sheets, mounted on a steel support grid. Artist Ray Paseka and his team at Westclox Studios, Inc. used archival information from the Union Depot Railroad Museum to capture the details of the structure. The permanent display will also feature lighted windows, a painting of a period locomotive slightly in front of the depot platform, and a 12-foot-deep promenade along the front of the mural.