photo from village of seneca facebook page

Seneca's village board approved a partnership with North Central Illinois ARTworks, paving the way for an  $81,200 art project the board hopes will be the beginning of an improved downtown business area. With Seneca's three improved parks and boat launch, the project could become a new tourism attraction.

Chris Coughlin, Executive Director of NCI ARTworks, said they would promote and market the Seneca Mural project proposed by artist Ray Paseka as part of the Silo Pathways Tourism attraction. The organization, a member of Heritage Corridor, serves LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam Counties. NCI ARTworks will retain an 8 percent administrative fee on all donations/grants processed through their account.

Paseka will create the mural which will then be executed and installed by Paseka, his apprentices, and the fabrication team of Westclox Studios Inc. in Peru. Once completed and installed, the mural could be re-located at any time in the future.

Proposed Seneca Mural project

The approximately 80 feet by 32 foot mural, planned for the north wall of  Rotation Tattoo, 313 N. Main Street, will be created on pre-painted aluminum sheeting and mounted to a steel support grid. The mural, with a cut-out three dimensional effect, will feature a ship builder's crane and telegraph pole cut out. Artwork will include the restoration of the existing Schlitz Beer sign from the 1900's. The mural will cost $75,000 and an additional $6200 in light fixtures.

“I went to your museum to look for some things to tell me the history of Seneca,” Paseka said. “I wanted to keep the Schiltz Beer artwork because that's also a part of building's history. It will be an amazing piece of art to bring back to life. And so you know, this mural will last 30 to 40 years.”

Raising funds

Mayor Jeff Olson said the village would be looking for grants, donations and other fund-raising opportunities to fund the project. Those fund-raising opportunities could include commemorative t-shirts, donor names on the website, name on a plaque at the mural's location and other ideas. “There will be absolutely no village money used for this this project,” Olson  said.

NCI ARTworks will promote the campaign, process grant funding, create an online donation channel, promote the entire campaign on its social media, website and e-newsletter channels. The organization, a 501C-3, will send thank-you letters that include tax deduction records to every donor.