At the corner of Olive and East and the intersection of compassion and diversity, a group of seven McLean County youths have left their mark. The Diversity Mural, a work dedicated to a variety of positive community themes and covering two walls in a near-downtown Bloomington neighborhood, was dedicated last Monday.
The mural was the brainchild of Not In Our Town: Bloomington-Normal, adopted enthusiastically by the Downtown Bloomington Association, and shepherded as a key project by the McLean County Diversity Project. Seven Diversity Project students, working under local artist Vince Bobrosky, painted the mural this summer, incorporating their own images into a collection of thoughts and observations about inclusivity, kindness, diversity, and peace. The wall adjoining the artists' individual panels proclaims, "Let Our Light Shine," in a variety of languages and Braille.
NIOTBN leader and Bloomington Alderman Karen Schmidt deemed the mural "a very beautiful gift" that embodies a community "that's full of peace and respect for one another." As a librarian, she is excited by the myriad of concepts and ideas the work conveys, as well as the wealth of languages used to convey its central message.
"It's a wonderful celebration," Schmidt said. "I am overwhelmed by the work that the students have done in expressing their hopes and dreams. As a mom and as a citizen here, I'm love the idea that our next generation has taken this message and made it so vibrant on a corner that includes our public library, that includes our City Hall and our police station.
"And I just love the way that Vince was able to draw out of these youth just their feelings about what it means to let your light shine and to be a guide to the rest of the world. I have a lot of confidence in where these young people are going to take us."
IN THE WORDS OF THE ARTISTS
"I hope the mural conveys a message about love, hope, peace, joy, and happiness." - Richie Beck (top photo, left, with brother Max)
"I think it displays a really good message to the community: Be nice, enjoy diversity in all sorts of different things." - Max Beck
"Once I go to college, it will be nice to come back and see this out here, kind of to see what my impact was on the community." Oskar Urquizo (center photo, with sister and fellow artist Olivia)
"I think it's going to leave a major imprint throughout Bloomington and Normal. It's going to last for awhile, and people can take a good message away from it. It took up a lot of time during the summer, but it sure was worth it." - Abhiru Raut (bottom photo, with mural medallion presented to the artists by Vince Bobrosky
"I just thought it was really cool and interesting to leave your mark in Bloomington. What a good place to do this -- right next to a library." - Ved Lombar
"I would love for my kids and my grandkids and so forth to see my picture on the mural -- to see this piece of history." - Molly Klessig