The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, together with community leaders from Rockford, Loves Park and Roscoe, participating artists and sponsors, announced the third annual CRE8IV: transformational ART. The RACVB-led public art festival will take place beginning June 1, 2022, at various locations in the Rockford region.

To date, 24 museum-quality CRE8IV murals (pronounced creative) have been created in Rockford, Loves Park, Rockton and Pecatonica. For a complete list, visit

This summer, 10 local and visiting lead artists will work with teams of artists to create 12 new large-scale, vibrant murals in the Rockford region – bringing the total number of CRE8IV murals to 36. New murals in Rockford will be created in the South Main St. business district, in The North End (Main/Auburn St.), in Midtown District (7th St.), and in downtown Rockford. The program will also include two murals in Loves Park and – for the first time – one in Roscoe.

“Residents, visitors and people looking to invest or live in a community are drawn to vibrant spaces. This year, we are excited to continue collaborating with residents, building owners, artists and donors to transform tired spaces into bright, bold and compelling works of art and welcoming spaces,” said John Groh, RACVB president/CEO. “Through the installation of impactful public art and placemaking efforts, we are creating a more exciting and compelling community and destination for our residents and visitors.”

Public art enhances the spirit, diversity and cultural life of a community

“I believe public art can alter the way we think of our surroundings in a positive way, and hopefully unify community members. These murals use images of the past and present to offer a vision into the future and help to create the identity of this community,” said Bret Whitacre, a local CRE8IV artist. “It’s a powerful process that is social, interactive and motivational – I love that I can help to make a positive difference and do what I love all at the same time.”

Partnerships key to success

CRE8IV is made possible because of the support, help and funding of the partners who recognize the long-term impact of this community-building, arts-infused collaboration. For the third year, Painters Union District 30, Local 607 has joined together with RACVB to make CRE8IV possible with their efforts to prep and prime all walls prior to artists arriving. Without their support, CRE8IV would not be possible. Sponsors to date include:

• Painters Union District 30, Local 607

• Bill Doran & Company

• Brubaker Family Foundation

• City of Loves Park

• City of Rockford

• Collins Aerospace

• Kjellstrom Family Foundation

• RACVB Board & Foundation board members

• Rockford Area Arts Council/Amazon

• Village of Roscoe

• William Charles Construction workplace

Mural locations, artists

Artists were selected through an open Call for Artists process and a local committee-led selection process. More than 90 local and visiting artists from around the country, including a few international, submitted proposals.

A curatorial review committee comprised of partner organization representatives, neighborhood representatives and residents reviewed the proposals and concepts, considered the artists’ experiences with similar projects, and then selected the artists for this year’s CRE8IV festival.

The selected artists represent a diverse group of local and visiting artists with varied backgrounds and artistic approaches.

This year, new murals will spotlight scenes and imagery portraying iconic Rockford landmarks, natural beauty native to the region, themes of belonging, hope, peace and love; diversity and inclusion; youth education, and historic symbolism rooted in our Midwestern hometowns

“We were honored to have had over 90 artist submit applications from around the county.

“Many of our CRE8IV artists apply each year because of the warm community welcome and neighborhood support they receive,” said Kristen Paul, RACVB director of destination development. “The artists truly enjoy the sense of belonging, overwhelming support and genuine hospitality they receive from residents and business owners. They have said time and time again that Rockford is like no place they’ve worked because everyone they meet is truly amazing.”

The list of mural locations, artists, concepts, and sponsors includes:

South Main St.

Mural Address: 917 S. Main St. (North and South Facing) (two walls)

   Artist: Anthony Lewellen (Chicago, Ill.)

   Concept: “Hope” for a bright future, the sky is not the limit – youth focused, aerospace influenced

   Sponsor: Collins Aerospace

The North End

Mural Address: 1444 Myott Ave. (North Facing)

   Artist: OhYa Studio – Ray Mawst and Brian Kehoe (Madison, Wis.)

   Concept: Tiled style patchwork highlighting Rockford attractions, staples, monuments, floral and fauna

   Sponsor: Brubaker Charitable Foundation

Mural Address: 1402 N. Main St. (north facing)

   Artist: Jenny Mathews (Rockford, Ill.)

   Concept: Geometric shapes cascading across the wall using vibrant colors

   Sponsor: Rockford Area Arts Council

Midtown District

Mural Address: 206 7th Street and 208 7th St. (north facing) (two walls)

   Artists: Jenny Ustick and Atatlie Gagnet (Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio)

Concept: Rockford Peaches Baseball – one cohesive project on two walls with a Welcome to Midtown message

   Sponsors: Kjellstrom Family Foundation & William Charles

Downtown Rockford

Mural Address: 815 E. State St. (east facing)

   Artists: Jenny Ustick & Atatlie Gagnet (Cincinnati and Toledo, OH)

Concept: Inclusiveness, Rockford focused using bold & vibrant colors to enhance the entrance of the downtown business district

   Sponsor: workplace

Mural Address: 707 W. Jefferson St. (two walls)

   Artist: Murals & More – Michael Cooper (Franklin, Tenn.)

Concept: Windows boxes with native flowers emerging through with sight lines to the sky above through empty spaces – Trompe L’oeil style

   Sponsor: Bill Doran & Co.

Mural Address: 311 Elm Street (West Facing)

   Artist: Brett Whitaker (Rockford, Ill.)

   Concept: Restoration and refreshing vintage mural

   Sponsor: City of Rockford


Mural Address: 10536 Main Street (North Facing)

   Artist: Thomas Agran (Iowa City, Iowa)

   Concept: Cityscape using broad brush strokes and vivid color

   Sponsor: Village of Roscoe

Loves Park

Mural Address: 5316 N. Second St. (North Facing)

   Artist: Dustin Eckhardt (Loves Park, IL)

Concept: A colorful character immersed in a playful environment of local Illinois flora and species, with an emphasis on native pollinators.

   Sponsor: City of Loves Park

10. Mural Address: 5545 N. 2nd Street (North Facing)

   Artist: Brett Whitaker (Rockford, IL)

   Concept: Color and compassion for the “City with a Heart” using vibrant shapes and lettering

   Sponsor: City of Loves Park

Mural sponsors and supporters

This RACVB-led initiative is made possible with the help of the aforementioned CRE8IV sponsors and funding partners and in collaboration with the City of Rockford and Painters District Council 30, Local 607. We would also like to recognize and thank all artists, local and visiting, for their creativity and days of hard work to help elevate and beautify our region.

Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in sponsoring this initiative or a specific mural are invited to contact Kristen Paul, RACVB Director of Destination Development, at 815-489-1661 or

For more information about CRE8IV – including upcoming announcements, a public art map and other resources – visit or follow @GoRockford on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.


RACVB is responsible for promoting the Rockford region as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work.

Through the impact of travel, RACVB strengthens the economic position of the region and provides opportunities for people in our communities.

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