Public Art Plan

It is no secret Murphysboro is home to many great artists. There are also a number of outstanding public art projects to highlight such as the Town Park Bandshell and Amphitheater as well as Smysor Plaza in downtown. However, there is still the need and desire to further showcase the creative spirit of residents through a new public arts initiative.  

Public art comes in many forms but generally refers to the following types of artwork:  

  • Sculpture 
  • Mosaics including engravings, carvings, frescoes; 
  • Fountains or water elements; 
  • Fine art crafts: clay, fiber (tapestries), textiles, wood, metal, plastics, stained glass; 
  • Mixed-media video and computer-generated works, collage, photography; 
  • Installations; 
  • Earthworks and environmental artworks; 
  • Decorative, ornamental, or functional elements designed by an artist; 
  • Murals, drawings, and paintings; and 
  • Monuments. 

One way to expand public art in Murphysboro is to incorporate wayfinding signage with public art. This will help visitors navigate the streets of Murphysboro while also displaying unique pieces of artwork. These signs will bring greater awareness to some of the fantastic cultural points of interest throughout the community. The program also presents the opportunity to work with youth interested in the arts from the local high school to the School of Art and Design at SIU Carbondale.  

The plan will kick off in year one with five pieces of public art and wayfinding signage with the goal being to add one or two pieces each year. 

Murals – Entry to Public Art

Murals are one of the most common applications of public art as it is a cost-effective way to help transform underutilized spaces into public destinations. The result is an increased interest in these spaces and a renewed sense of place reinforced by the character of a community. The future art plan should consider engaging mural artists to be commissioned for these public pieces 

Click on the images below to learn more about other mural programs.



Tourism Attraction Grant 

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awards funds to counties, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, local promotion groups, and for-profit businesses for the development or improvement of tourism attractions in Illinois. The applicant must identify performance measurements they will use to identify successful outcomes for the development or enhancement of Illinois tourism attractions. Metrics include, but are not limited to, an anticipated increase in visitation; new visitation; enhanced length of stay at the destination.  

The City of Rockford was awarded $91,800 to put on CRE8IV, a community-building, arts-infused event. Over the course of the festival, eight lead artists worked with teams of artists to create eight large-scale murals in Rockford’s central city.  

To learn more about the Tourism Attraction Grant, see Appendix H.  


Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program that supports project-based funding projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $200,000, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount. 

Applications of this program are diverse and could be utilized to support a mural/public arts program similar to CRE8IV or something completely unique to Murphysboro.

To learn more about the OUR TOWN grantclick HERE.   


Each piece of art will be accompanied by a wayfinding sign that will include: 

  • City’s Logo 
  • A location it is pointing you to 
  • A short description of that location 
  • The name of the art piece accompanying it 
  • The name of the local artist 

Additional wayfinding signage should include directional signage (not associated with public art pieces) placed at directional decision-making points, welcome signage at key entry points, and gateway signage around the downtown area. 

Mural with Signage

Wayfinding Mockups

As a starting point, Alchemy has created a City of Murphysboro logo concept building upon three pieces of inspiration: current (informal) city logo, city seal, and Murphysboro Mainstreet logo.

This logo concept is applied in the following wayfinding mockup images.

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