By Anne Eickstadt


ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Jay Robert Allen brings together the hometown and the artist’s perspectives and expresses his pride in Belvidere at the Pettit Chapel mural dedication ceremony.

That was before they discovered that the day and time conflicted with the big cross-town Belvidere High School/Belvidere North High School football game.

So the venue was changed to across the street at 323 S. State St., right by the mural being dedicated, there were no shuttles to visit the Pettit Chapel itself, and the cost was free.

While only six tickets had been sold for the original event, even the heavily clouded skies and brisk breeze did not keep the community’s supporters and art lovers away from the dedication. The indoor portion of the event was just large enough to hold the food, musician, and raffle. The chairs for sitting were outdoors in front of the mural.

Boone County Arts Council president Maria Werchowec-Hernandez thanked the vendors – Gary Simon, Weenie Wagon; Coach’s Corner, Biscotto’s, and Shortline; and everyone involved in the event – Brad Thacker, Sam Larsen and Sharon of the Belvidere Cemetery, Anna Pivoras of the Boone County Museum of History, Carrie Pace, Dixie Allen, and more before she introduced Jay Robert Allen.

Allen is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, and our local connection to the Walldogs who have created a great deal of the public art in Belvidere. “My hometown has spent the last 25 years indulging me in my love of public art,” he said. “And every time I drive through town, I see the water tower, which keeps drawing me back – ‘The City of Murals’ it says. I couldn’t be more appreciative of everyone who came out and the committee…. I can’t express my immense pride at being a part of this community.”

Allen read a letter from Anat Ronen, the artist who painted the Pettit Chapel mural.

“This year marks the second year of me coming to Belvidere and painting a mural (and some street painting) for you. I am eternally humbled and honored to be chosen to do so.

“You see, I wasn’t born nor raised in the USA, and the mid-west was something I saw in the movies, something I thought existed in stories. Having chosen a big city to live in, Houston, every time I travel to the many fascinating corners of the United States of America, I learn even more.

“Taking a step further and being able to process those lessons and knowledge into Public Art is a bond that will stay with me forever. It is immensely more than just visiting a place, passing by, watching the scenery. It’s taking the time to learn…

For complete article, pick up the Belvidere Republican.

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