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This week’s stop in our series on local businesses with stories to tell: Champaign’s Dixon Graphics, a 2019 Arts, Culture, and Education Award winner for, among other things, “going out of their way to support, advocate for, advise, encourage, and promote local artists as they conduct their art businesses.”

Lance Dixon’s appreciation for local art is apparent, from the east wall of his bustling John Street business to the hundreds of posters that give the inside of Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses an aesthetic boost.

Inside Dixon Graphics hangs a collection of Tolono artist Lisa Kesler best work, from “Dots On Green” to “Strawberries.” The exhibit “showcases her artwork and our printing capabilities,” Dixon said. In announcing this year’s ACE Award winners, 40 North 88 West lauded Dixon Graphics — also a News-Gazette Media People’s Choice winner — for “regularly dedicating one entire wall of their storefront to art display.”

In the printing business since joining Kinko’s on campus in 1991, Dixon opened his own shop in 2001 (three employees then, 12 today).

Since then, the 49-year-old father of five Champaign school district students has donated time, energy and material to C-U’s vibrant arts-and-entertainment scene. All you have to do is ask.

“When a small, local group whose mission benefits our community in some way asks for help, I often say yes,” Dixon said. “As a businessman, it’s my responsibility to step up and help.”

That’s why he prints and delivers to MTD some 1,600 posters featuring local talent each year. Take a look next time you board a bus.

“I think artists are drawn to me,” Dixon said, “because I like the challenge of trying to reproduce their art in a way that makes them happy.”