ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- The Rockford community came together to express challenges the city faces, and share hopes for the future. A mural will encompass the message starting next week.
"We all want the same things," says community muralist Tia Richardson, who has designed murals for 12 years. "It's very rewarding, and very revealing as far as seeing most everyone I went to really wants betterment, and they're all willing to put in something to help things get better."
Richardson met with Rockford community members to brainstorm challenges across the city. "Most of them were psychological and feelings based like misunderstandings, for example, mistrust."
Other themes were structural like roads and education. Workshop participants were asked to also think of ways to cope with challenges, and ultimately move to a brighter future.
"It shows symbolically a way to move through those by thinking about how we want to get to where we want to go," Richardson tells 23 News.
The mural will be displayed across 55 panels outside of SecondFirst Church in Rockford.
"Art, yeah that's the best way [to show a message] because what you are going to see in that art I may not see, and what I see the majority of the people here may not see," says SecondFirst Church's Steve Showers.
The art is subjective, but the goal is common.
"Just help grow Rockford," says Showers. "Bring the neighborhoods together, notice the plural." An overwhelming similarity showed the desire to bridge Rockford's east and west sides.
Anyone is welcome to help paint the mural starting Monday, November 11 from 3 to 7 in the evening. Painting will continue through November 16. It is a paint-by-numbers design where community members will choose a number with a corresponding color to fill in.