Highland IL local art council is developing mural project

Highland’s Weinheimer Building may soon become a very large canvas to add to the city’s public artwork.

The Highland Arts Council is developing a project to transform the exterior wall of the Weinheimer Building into a mural, possibly with the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The painting on the walls dates back over 10,000 years,” HAC director Lynnette Schuepbach wrote in her memo to city council. “But since the 1960s, artists of all types in the United States and around the world have made mural a powerful new tool of artistic and social expression.”

Highland already has at least four murals across the city, including one celebrating the city’s 175th anniversary jubilee.

The Arts Council is now requesting a $ 10,000 grant from the NEA to partially fund the new mural. It’s a $ 10,000 grant that requires at least an equal match, but the mural project will easily exceed that amount to around $ 34,000, according to the memo.

Schuepbach said she was optimistic about the chances of getting the grant. “I feel pretty comfortable about it because they are the ones who called us,” she said. The Highland Arts Council has received many contacts encouraging them to apply, and she said it is a non-competitive grant, so they don’t have to compete with other applicants.

Schuepbach said the arts council believed the mural would aid tourism and strengthen Highland’s reputation as a city of the arts.

The mural would be designed and painted by father-daughter muralists Robert and Liza Fishbone, based in Saint-Louis. The Fishbones have been involved in more than 200 mural projects since 1974, according to the HAC memo, combining their styles in many varieties of projects across St. Louis, as well as Memphis; Cincinnati; Lexington, Kentucky; The City of Oklahoma; El Paso, Texas and more.

“We sent them the two history books we have for Highland,” Schuepbach said. “It will represent the history of Highland and the history of the Weisenheimer building, as well as what is happening now… It will adapt to our community and represent who we are and what happened in our building. ”

In addition to designing and painting the mural itself, the HAC worked with the Fishbones to offer public educational sessions during the painting process itself, which they did in Indiana, Ohio. and Texas, among others.

“HAC has witnessed how a single project creates a wave of appreciation and a desire for more,” Schuepbach wrote. “We expect this to be the case with residents of the Highlands.”

Fundraising effort

The arts council is planning a fundraising effort to raise the matching funds and the remaining amount needed to complete the project. Schuepbach said those plans are still underway, but hopes to announce them in the near future.

The Highland Arts Council is expected to hear about the NEA grant by the end of the year, and work will begin no earlier than May. In the meantime, the arts council and the city are expected to approve the design created by the Fishbones.

Highland City Council voted unanimously last Monday to approve the project. If everything falls into place, Schuepbach said she hopes it will be finished with next year’s Art in the Park festival.

Norma D. Ross