Foundation unveils gift of interactive mural to Decatur Community


DECATUR, Illinois ­– The Community Foundation of Macon County is celebrating its 20th anniversary by partnering with the Decatur Civic Center, Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Decatur Area Arts Council to bestow a gift to the community by artist Kelsey Montague. This special gift is an interactive mural placed on the northwest exterior of the Decatur Civic Center.

“We commissioned Kelsey to paint our wings as part of the Foundation’s yearlong 20th anniversary celebration. We are proud of how our community comes together to lift each other up. We’re hopeful that the installation will become a must-see, not only for locals but for visitors alike,” explained Natalie Beck, president, Community Foundation of Macon County. “Kelsey’s wings are interactive art. We want people to step into the piece, get creative, whether that’s jumping up into the air, or whatever.”

Montague combines public art, interactive art, and social media in her work throughout the world. This is her third installation in Illinois. The purpose of her art works in tandem with the goal of this gift ­– to be uplifting and inclusive to all. The mural is only complete when someone stands in front of it. Montague created a piece at the 2019 Super Bowl in Miami and was commissioned by Taylor Swift to create a mural in Nashville for the debut of her single, “Me!”

“The Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is so proud to be a part of this amazing project,” said Teri Hammel, executive director, Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It will be a great attraction to share with visitors of all ages. Making memories is our mission, and this will be just the thing for anyone of all ages.”

This interactive mural celebrates Decatur, Illinois. The wings are from a monarch butterfly, the state insect of Illinois, which was determined after a campaign by Dennis Elementary School students in 1975. Within the mural are hidden elements representing our community, including a flyswatter, created in 1899 in Decatur; multi-colored hands, representing the diversity within our community; rural field and tractor, representing the importance of agriculture; and train tracks, symbolic of commerce and the rail intermodal. Along with the large mural is a miniature set of wings for children and pets. The miniature wings feature a cheetah to represent Scovill Zoo.

Montague includes two hashtags on her murals. One is her own hashtag, #whatliftsyou, and the other is determined by the commissioner. Visitors to the mural are asked to use #ExploreDecaturIL when they post their photo to social media. This allows anyone to see how far and wide people come to interact with the mural and all the fun poses used.

“Having public art like murals in Decatur, demonstrates to the people in our community, as well as visitors, that art is an important part of our everyday lives. By adding unexpected splashes of color, it creates an uplifting sense of pride in our city,” said Jerry Johnson, executive director, Decatur Area Arts Council.

The mural will be open to the public beginning July 11, 2020. Participants of the mural should maintain safe social distancing while waiting to take pictures.

The Community Foundation of Macon County connects generous donors with vital non-profit organizations to collaborate and grow in effectiveness to improve our collective quality of life. The Decatur Civic Center provides the perfect environment for meetings, receptions, banquets, parties, trade shows, concerts, expos, and more. The Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes all our community has to offer and works to bring visitors to the area. The Decatur Area Arts Council introduces and promotes the arts, enhances arts educational opportunities, and increases the impact of and access to the arts to improve the quality of life in the community.