Who’s an empowered woman from your community?

Public input, support welcomed for mural project spanning tri-county area

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PERU – LaSalle business owner Christie Pasieka and North Central Illinois (NCI) ARTworks invite public support for the “Empowered Women of Starved Rock Country” mural project to showcase historically significant achievements of local women in LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties.

Pasieka, the project’s founder, said the “Empowered Women” public art project will be a series of hand-painted murals featuring women from all professional and service fields who have contributed to the well-being of the tri-county area and beyond.

The murals will be painted on aluminum panels attached to steel grids for permanent display in high-traffic locations. Signage at each mural site will feature descriptions of the women and their achievements, as well as links to information on other public art installations along the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour.

“The object of the “Empowered Women” project is to create public art that inspires local young people - women in particular,” Pasieka said. “My hope is that the art inspires them to follow their dreams and to do things that are beneficial inside their communities and beyond, as did the women who will be depicted on the murals.”

Pasieka leads a committee to create the series of murals to be installed in communities throughout the tri-county area. Committee members envision the series of murals as the most impactful way to realize the inspirational aspect of the public art installations.

Committee members and NCI ARTworks welcome nominations of women to be considered for the murals. E-mail nominations to outreach@nciartworks.com. Include an image of the nominee and a description of her contributions.

Pasieka launched the fundraising part of the project with a personal donation of $5,000 into a fund managed by the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation, which then transferred the funds to NCI ARTworks in order to implement the project. NCI ARTworks is accepting donations for the project through its website at www.nciartworks.com.

Pasieka recalls the “Empowered Women” project evolved from the time her daughter was discouraged from following her dream by an authority figure who said that, as a girl from a small community, she wouldn’t do anything of importance. “The words stung,” said Pasieka, “but instead of discouraging my daughter, they motivated her to research important contributions local women had made and to take inspiration from their work to achieve her own success. She now has her doctorate and is a senior research scientist. I intend for the Empowered Women of Starved Rock Country murals to inspire the youth in our communities to reach for their dreams.”

Pasieka notes several women considered for the mural in LaSalle include Mary Ellen Evers, Marion Dane Bauer, and Dr. Mary Margaret Weeg, who all have been distinguished educators, writers, and community leaders. “Some of the names on the murals will be new to us and others will be familiar,” she added. “People who visit the murals will be inspired by them all.”

NCI ARTworks is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and expanding the arts community in LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties through artistic collaboration, educational outreach, and art space development. Its mission also is to create venues which support public and private education, community events, economic development, and cultural tourism. ARTworks’ vision is to foster communication between artists, arts organizations, and arts educators. NCI ARTworks is located in the Westclox ARTworks Center in the west wing of the Westclox building in Peru. For more information visit nciartworks.com.