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Sterling highway mural valued at $10K

Grants will pay for work

STERLING – Thanks to the city’s location along the Lincoln Highway, Sterling has a new piece of art.

A mural on the north side of Grummert’s Hardware, 424 Locust St., was installed Thursday as part of the mural program of the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition. It was the 34th mural installed.

The program’s final mural was also installed Thursday in Rochelle, said Sue Hronik, the coalition’s program director.

Sterling’s mural is one of two in the program made up of more than one painting. Its five pieces depict early 1940s advertisements for an NBC national radio program, The Lincoln Highway Radio Show, which was broadcast on 80 radio stations, according to a news release.

“We wanted to tell that story, which lends itself to replicating the advertising of the day and made it seem more interesting,” Hronik said. “To make it look like posters and advertising, it just made it fit even better.”

The other mural with multiple pieces is in North Aurora. It has three pieces, Hronik said.

Each of the murals was designed by Jay Allen, owner of ShawCraft Sign Co. in Machesney Park, and painted off-site before being installed on the side of a building that met the guidelines of the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition.

The coalition wanted all the murals to be visible to visitors in each city, and also face a direction that would preserve the painting as long as possible.

The murals, which Hronik said are valued at $10,000 each, were paid for by a National Scenic Byway Grant and a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, according to the news release.

All Sterling had to do was provide a wall and the frames, otherwise it was a gift to the city, said Sterling Main Street Director Janna Groharing.

The program also paid for murals in several other Sauk Valley locations, including Rochelle, Rock Falls and Dixon.

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