Walter T. Bailey's Mural

Walter T. Bailey Deserves a Mural

In 2013, a group of 250 muralists and sign painters, known as the Walldogs, painted 15 murals in downtown Kewanee, Illinois, in five days. It was part of an on-going effort to revitalize a small industrial town with the arts. Each mural was unique to Kewanee's history, showcasing an event or person that helped build Kewanee's story. In 2014, we added a 16th mural honoring actor Neville Brand.

To mark the five-year anniversary of the Walldogs meet, we'd like to add a 17th mural, this time honoring Walter Thomas Bailey, the first Black architect in Illinois.

Walter T. Bailey was born in Kewanee in 1882, and died in 1941. During his short 59 years, he graduated from Kewanee High School, received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Illinois' School of Architecture, breaking barriers and designing buildings. In 1910, he received an honorary Master's Degree from U of I, and many of his buildings still stand today, in Chicago, Memphis, Little Rock, and at the Tuskegee Institute.

We need to raise $10,000 by July, 2018, to cover the costs of the mural. This money will pay for Nova acrylic paint (prized for its colorfastness and durability), as well as various odds and ends related to creating the mural. It will also help to pay the lead Walldog for his time and efforts.

This is about honoring our ancestors. This is about not forgetting those who worked hard to make our town and our reputation strong. We've had quite a few amazing historical figures come out of Kewanee. This public display of pride will go a long way to inspiring today's young Kewaneeans, tomorrow's architects and professionals. It will show our kids that they, too, can accomplish greatness.

We want to get as many people involved as possible in the funding of Bailey's mural, and that includes current establishments that occupy the buildings he designed, or anyone that was touched by his work and barrier-breaking. We are all his legacy, we can all be sponsors.

 We want to share that history with the world, and celebrate our stars, and Walter T. Bailey needs to take his rightful place in the mural pantheon. His legacy and mark on so many cities must never be forgotten. This mural will be painted with love and pride and will inspire our youth.

Walldog Public Art is a non-profit 501(c)3 that will be facilitating donations, especially larger amounts, on our behalf. Any checks can be written to Walldog Public Art, with "Walter T. Bailey" in the memo line, and all such donations are tax-deductible. (Mailing address or Federal ID can be provided upon request).

We thank you for your contribution.

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Joy Hernandez-Butler 
Kewanee, IL
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