Alton Main Street is announcing its next public art project which will take place in the heart of downtown Alton. A colorful, dynamic mural of birds lifting in flight promises to attract visitors and residents alike to appreciate our connectivity within the natural world.
This project will be an opportunity to educate our community of Alton’s global significance positioned on the Mississippi Flyway, which is used by nearly half of all birds that migrate. The Alton area is home to 18 species of gulls which are pictured in the artwork.
The Alton Flyway image was created by the late James K. Schmidt as a composition expressive of freedom, exhilaration and expansion characteristic of bird flight. The cool colors and spacious simplicity of the design is suggestive of skyward movement against the rectangular shapes of an urban setting.
This three-story tall piece of artwork was designed specifically for the Mississippi Landing building at the corner of Alby and Front Streets, and will be visible from the Clark Bridge, the Sam Vadalabene bike trail, and the heavily trafficked Route 100/Landmarks Boulevard.
The artist selected to translate the painting into its mural form is Robert Fishbone, owner of On the Wall Productions, who has over 50 years of experience painting large and complex murals around the country. Work is set to begin on Sept. 12, 2023, and will take from four to six weeks to complete.
Alton’s mural has been accepted as part of the National Audubon Mural Project, and will be featured on its website as well as subsequent media coverage. The Audubon Mural Project celebrates birds while drawing attention to the risk that climate changes poses to both birds and people. The project commissions artists with a diverse range of styles and life experiences to paint birds imperiled by climate change. It began in the Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods of northern Manhattan, and is now stretching its wings across the country.
Alton Main Street is managing the fundraising, logistics, production and marketing of the project. Donors who made the mural possible include: Friends of Alton Main Street, Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, Pride Incorporated, Sierra Club Piasa Palisades Group, Ruth Arts Foundation, Erie Insurance, Audubon Center at Riverlands, Alton Foundation, Moon Beam Initiatives (owner of the building’s ground floor commercial space), Monica Bristow (loft resident), and the Mississippi Landing Condominium Association.
“These partners share our mission to uplift the region and celebrate our area’s natural beauty,” said Sara McGibany, executive director of Alton Main Street. “We thank them for joining us in this significant project that will enhance an important gateway to our city and in turn boost our local economy.”
Murals define the flavor of a community, and public art is proven to drive foot traffic, local spending, and private investment. Educational activities with Audubon Center at Riverlands, art walks, and a self-guided tour will be coordinated to build connections and deepen our sense of place and community pride.
To get involved with the many ways that Alton Main Street volunteers are working to promote the district and improve the quality of life in our community, contact email@example.com. For full details of the organization’s beautification projects, special events, networking activities, investment opportunities and more, visit www.DowntownAlton.com.