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Rockford Celebrates Pride Month With Wall Art

A Chicago artist took the lead in painting one of 12 murals for the CRE8IV (Creative): Transformative ART initiative.

Polka-dot pumps, a man pushing another one in a wheelchair and other bright images are splashed across a wall in downtown Rockford. The wall art located at 117 S. 3rd St. is celebrating pride month. It was recently revealed as one of 12 CRE8IV : Transformative ART murals commemorating the city’s diversity.

Chicago artist Sam Kirk took the lead on completing the artwork. She said she wanted to make sure the painting represented the community.

“The LGBTQ community is slowly starting to come into play a little bit more,” Kirk explained. “That topic or content can be a little bit challenging for people sometimes. So, I was actually very excited that the city of Rockford was interested in me leading the content.”

Kirk said she’s completed many murals about diversity and inclusion, but this one gave her the opportunity to cover more ground -- or wall you could say.

“The other figures and the other elements that are on the sides of them were meant to be reflections of the community that is part of this LGBT group,” she said, “but also they could represent allies; they could also represent as other communities within the Rockford area.”

Kirk has several other pride projects that she is completing this month. One includes a collection for the Chicago Cubs that will help support a youth housing initiative.

The wall art was sponsored by the Illinois Lottery and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

More CRE8IV: Transformative ART murals are coming to Rockford as well as the nearby cities of Loves Park, Rockton and Pecatonica. Pictures of completed murals can be found at gorockford.com.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.