Local organizations look for public support and input for ‘Empowered Women’ murals

The planned art project is set to feature influential women of the Illinois Valley

La Salle Business Owner Christie Pasieka and North Central Illinois ARTworks want to invite public support and input for the planned “Empowered Women of Starved Rock County” mural project.

Mural Series Committee members and NCI ARTworks welcome nomination of women to be considered for the murals. E-mail nominations can be sent to outreach@nciartworks.com. They ask that you include an image of the nominee and a description of her contributions.

Pasieka launched the fundraising portion of the project with a personal donation of $5,000 into a fund managed by the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. NCI ARTworks is currently accepting donations for the project through its website.

The proposed public art project is planned to showcase historically significant achievements of local women in La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties. It will be a series of hand-painted murals featuring women from all professional and service fields who have contributed to the well-being of the area and beyond, according to Pasieka.

The murals will be hand-painted on aluminum panels and then attached to steel grids for permanent display in high-traffic areas.

The murals will also feature signage that holds descriptions of the women and their achievements as well as links to information on other public art installations along the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour.

Pasieka currently leads a committee hoping to create a series of murals in communities throughout La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties. Committee members envision the series of murals as the most impactful way to realize the inspirational aspect of the public art installations.

“The object of the ‘Empowered Women’ project is to create public art that inspires local young people, women in particular,” Pasieka said. “My hope is that the art inspires them to follow their dreams and to do things that are beneficial inside their communities and beyond, as did the women who will be depicted on the murals.”

Pasieka stated the project evolved from the time her daughter was discouraged from following her dream by an authority figure who said that a girl from a small community wouldn’t do anything of importance.

“The words stung,” Pasieka said. “Instead of discouraging my daughter, they motivated her to research important contributions local women had made and to take inspiration from their work to achieve her own success.”

Pasieka’s daughter has since gone on to receive her doctorate and works as a senior research scientist. Pasieka hopes these murals can inspire similar individuals to accomplish great things.

Pasieka also noted that several women currently considered for the mural in La Salle include Mary Ellen Evers, Marion Dane Bauer and Dr. Mary Margaret Weeg. These women have been distinguished educators, writers and community leaders.

“Some of the names on the murals will be new to us and others will be familiar,” Pasieka said. “People who visit the murals will be inspired by them all.”