AURORA, IL - A Blues Mural created at an international gathering of artists in Aurora eight years ago is about to become the latest addition to the downtown Aurora arts scene.
The 12- by 30-foot Blues Mural was commissioned by the City of Aurora in 2008 after the City was approached by Salon Forever
, an international group of artists who convene once a year to learn from one another.
Salon Forever 2008
was held over four days in May 2008 at the Painters and Allied Trades District 30 Council headquarters in Aurora. More than 100 decorative painters from 13 countries around the world attended Salon Forever 2008 -- with 30 artists collaborating on the Blues Mural.
The City purchased the mural for $2,000, and it has been stored at the Painters and Allied Trades District 30 Council Building ever since.
On Tuesday, August 23,the Aurora City Council approved an agreement with the building owner to mount the Blues Mural on the east-facing wall of the Silverplate Building at 6 E. Downer Place.
"As the arts in downtown Aurora continue to grow and develop over the years, so has the interest in murals and other commissioned works of art," said Mayor Tom Weisner. "The approval and installation of this mural is a very apropos first step into blending Aurora's history into a contemporary arts scene while opening the door for future innovative projects directly involving local artists."
The Blues Mural contains several images linked to Aurora - a City of Aurora logo, the Paramount Theatre, New York Street Bridge, a portrait of Samuel McCarty, the Hobbs Building, "Wayne and Garth", and images of Walter Payton, a Caterpillar tractor and a Blues Alley street sign. In capital letters across the top of the mural, it reads "Aurora Blues Festival." The mural also features a view of the Chicago skyline and other images.
The theme for Salon Forever 2008 was "Music." Each day during the exhibition, a different style of music -- jazz, classical, blues, rock -- was played by live bands. Patrick Kirwin of Alexandria, VA, was in charge of the mural project. Kirwin, a specialist in murals, is a former instructor at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
"We discovered what the 'blues' look like with the completion of the incredible collaborative mural," Salon Forever 2008 organizer Michele Santilli said at the time.
The first Salon Forever, in 1996, was held in Quimiac, France.
Salon Forever 2008 in Aurora was preceded by Salon Forever 2007 in Aarhus, Denmark; and followed by Salon Forever 2009 in Bergamo, Italy, and Salon Forever 2010 in Versailles, France. This year, Salon Forever 2016 was held in St. Petersburg, Russia; next year, Salon Forever 2017 will be in New York City.
Information on Salon Forever 2008 - and all of the art group's international gatherings over the past 20 years -- can be found at www.salonforever.se
ADDITIONAL MURALS IN DOWNTOWN
City staff is working on a Request for Proposals, planned to be released in the Fall, for a city-commissioned mural for downtown. The City hopes to have the mural painted and installed during the summer of 2017. The Aurora Public Art Commission will be involved in the review and selection process for the new mural.
The Blues Mural is not the first City-owned mural. Two smaller murals painted by students in the Public Art Commission's ARTWorks program were mounted on the west elevation of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center in 2007 and 2008. One of those murals remains on the Art and History Center's western wall - directly across from the Silverplate Building, where the new Blues Mural will be placed.