News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet creates art commission

17 members will be appointed to board

Dilapidated murals of local Joliet sports icons sit in a state of decay June 13, 2017, in downtown Joliet. One task facing the new Joliet Arts Commission could be decisions on what to do about the city's fading murals.

Joliet now has an arts commission.

The City Council last week approved the formation of a Joliet Arts Commission, although with some words of caution from one council member.

“I just want people to know we’re not going to have a lot of funds available,” council member Larry Hug. “I don’t want this to become the commission of no.”

Art enthusiasts have expressed enthusiasm for the commission.

Four spoke in favor of the commission, including Theresa Rouse, superintendent of Joliet Grade School District 86.

Rouse pointed to the impact art education has on young students and said, “An arts commission could help our work going forward.”

Just what an arts commission will do is something that its board will decide after it is formed.

The commission board will have 17 members.

“We do have 17 people lined up who are wanting to be part of this commission,” Quinn Adamowski, an advocate for the commission, told a council committee that reviewed the proposal before it was approved.

The commission has so many members in order to include people from different art forms, including painting, theater, sculpture and music, Adamowski said.

The ordinance creating the commission also calls for board members with backgrounds in government, education, business, marketing and urban planning.

Board members will be appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council.

The commission will not have authority to spend money but will make recommendations to the city. The commission also could develop ideas for artistic projects and pursue grants to fund them.

One task facing the Joliet Arts Commission could be the development of a plan for maintaining murals and sculptures created in past years by Friends of Community Public Art.

“Hopefully, they’ll be able to come together and figure out a way to get them fixed,” council member Jan Quillman said.

She noted a piece devoted to police Officer Jonathan Walsh, who died in 2004 in a car crash while on duty, is “in desperate need of repair.”

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News