Route 66 in the News

New Art Coming to Downtown

2010-02-15 20:45:51

PONTIAC, Ill. - First it was doors and then it was dogs.

Now downtown leaders are looking to beautify the area with fiberglass cars and trucks decorated by area artists.

The Pontiac City Council voted Monday to spend about $8,000 to purchase nine fiberglass models of 1957 convertibles, three of 1930s-era pickup trucks and artist supplies. The cars will be about 5 feet long and 2 feet tall, and the trucks will be about 4 long and 3 feet tall.

The money will come from the city's tax increment financing district.

Lori Fairfield, executive director of Pontiac Redeveloping Our United Downtown, said that nine local artists, the art classes at Pontiac Township High School and Pontiac Junior High School and the Route 66 Association will be responsible for painting the vehicles.

Officials hope to have them installed by early May to coincide with the state's Red Carpet Corridor weekend in celebration of Route 66.

Fairfield said they would be on display for several years.

The idea came from the success of previous downtown art installations that featured decorated doors and fiberglass dogs.

In June 2008, more than 15 decorated doors of all shapes and sizes were hung from light posts. The dogs were installed last summer to celebrate the Walldogs Festival, which drew mural-painting artists to the city to decorate downtown.

"They proved to be a huge tourist attraction, and it drew a lot of interest downtown," said Fairfield.

The actual cost of the project will be about $13,000, but $5,000 of that will be paid from money received through an auction of the fiberglass dogs that used to be downtown.

The council unanimously approved the project on the condition that the city and the Pontiac Tourism Bureau could also be involved.

"I just would like to see a review to make sure there is consistency, and that's why I think tourism should be involved," said Ward 3 Alderman Don Gardner.

~Tony Sapochetti,


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