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Young Quad-City artists are brightening up walls in downtown Moline
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Young Quad-City artists are brightening up walls in downtown Moline

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Two years ago, Pam Fisher looked out the window of her downtown Moline business to a bright, colorful mural being painted on a building across the street.

She dropped what she was doing and zipped across the street to ask the person in charge how she could get something like that on her property.

Today Fisher, owner of Bajas Classy Resale, 1516 6th Ave., is getting a mural as eight young artists employed by Quad-City Arts, Rock Island, brush an urban scene across the side of her store using every color of the rainbow, and then some.

The students are employees of the 2020 Metro Arts Youth Apprenticeship Program in which aspiring artists ages 15-21 are hired for five weeks under a professional artist with the goal of helping them build professional and artistic skills while positively impacting the community, Kevin Maynard, executive director of Quad-City Arts, said.

Metro Arts began in 2000, but this is the first mural in Moline. (The work that inspired Fisher two years ago was done under a different program, but had the same lead artist, Sarah Robb.)

The Moline Foundation and Renew Moline, specifically the Tom and Karen Getz Memorial Fund, are helping to pay for the mural.

"This collaborative project exemplifies and honors the legacy of these two truly remarkable community leaders, Paul Plagenz, president and CEO of The Moline Foundation, said of the Getzes in a news release. 

Titled "It's a New Day," the work is emerging on a 58-foot by 12-foot section of wall and will feature a cityscape with abstract buildings, rolling green hills, a swirling blue river, two streets and the state flowers of Illinois and Iowa, a violet and wild rose, respectively.

Already dominating the scene is a huge sun rendered in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. The wall faces a courtyard that is partially fenced, so the sun is rising at the end of the wall closest to the sidewalk and street where it will catch people's eyes, professional lead artist Robb said.

Still to come are musical notes and silhouettes of birds across the sun.

As with all Metro Arts projects, the idea grew out of a brainstorming session among the artists, guided by a list of words from the building owner of what he or she hopes the mural will convey.

The group came up with two ideas, and Fisher made the final decision.

A picture was sketched on graph paper, then a grid laid out on the wall to give proportions, and the students took it from there with tubs of paint, brushes and creativity.

And, this year, with face masks or face shields.

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