Top of the Morning, Aug. 15, 2018

Top of the Morning, Aug. 15, 2018

Champaign and Urbana are full of public art displays, with items of interest dotted all over town.

But art fans need not brush past the burgeoning scene in Arcola — which already includes the Raggedy Ann and Andy statue, the one-and-only hippie memorial and 15 murals by the Walldogs.

Soon, another project will call the Douglas County community home. This one is the brainchild of Arcola institution PAT MONAHAN.

"Sweeping Beauties" features 11 oversized brooms painted by artists from as near as Villa Grove (GAYLA SCHUETT) to as far as Christchurch, New Zealand.

Each broom will be 6 1/2 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet wide, and the artists have been given free rein to play off clever themes like "That's What Happens When You Sweep Together," "Broom With A View" and "Lincoln Swept Here."

Monahan hopes to have many of the brooms installed by Labor Day, in time for the popular Broomcorn Festival (Sept. 7-9).

"We've got 11 lampposts that don't have a planter on them," Monahan said. "The brooms will able to rotate, so you can see both sides of the broom with title and the artwork."

All in a day's work for Monahan, who proudly touts his hometown any chance he gets.

Public art "is becoming a signature of Arcola," he said. "It made some sense to look at something that wasn't all that expensive but would build on our reputation for being one of the better public art communities in central Illinois."

Monahan was inspired by the "Cows on Parade" display in Chicago and another similar project in St. Joseph, Mich.

Another highlight of the upcoming Broomcorn Festival: a planned visit by DAVE BARRY — "other than myself, I'd say he's the most famous Lawn Ranger," Monahan said.

"He still has a huge, huge following. They'll mostly see him march by pushing his mower. They'll be able to spot him and yell at him."

Topics (2):Art, People