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Our Design committee recognizes the important role that public art can play in the revitalization of an area. 

One colorful way that we help infuse the arts into the fabric of our community is by teaming up with the Riverbend Yarn Bombers for an annual “Yarn Bomb”, a public art installation that uses knitted or crocheted yarn to create street art rather than paint or chalk.

HISTORY: In 2013, the group decorated the exterior of the historic Jacoby Furniture building, in 2014 the festival grounds of The Big Gig Local Music Show were decked out, and in 2015 the same was done for Rock the Hops venues - PLUS a "scarf bomb" was added (led by Sally Kirbach) where winter where hats, scarves & gloves were tagged and left near social services so that the less fortunate could take an article and keep warm. From 2016-2018, the crew has focused on bombing Broadway as part of the decor for the Mississippi Earthtones Festival in September. 

“Many artists have jumped on board to help us bring yarn bombing to Alton's vibrant downtown district,” said organizer Laura Blair, “We add to the festivities of Downtown events by covering lamp posts and other urban fixtures with something colorful and inspired. Whether you knit, crochet, weave or are good at freestyle yarning, you are invited to join in this celebration of music and public art.” 

Anyone can join in by contacting Laura Blair at blairlairstudios@gmail.com or (618)-593-3354; who will assign a public fixture for you to decorate. Group projects are welcome as well. 

Anyone who is interested in helping but lacks knitting/crocheting skills is welcome to be a part of the Ground Crew that helps stitch together this unique community public artwork. Another way to help is by making a monetary contribution, or a donation of supplies (crochet hooks, knitting needles, scissors, any color of usable yarn, swatches, samples, granny squares, flowers, etc.). The public is asked to pass the word to anyone who may be interested in being a part of it or experiencing the installations. 

mural before & after

During the summer of 2012, the AMS Design committee led by Sarah Neal chose to organize a children's mural project, with the theme of "A River Runs Through Us". Theme illustrates the importance of grooming our children to be active citizens in their communities, while recognizing the significance of the Mississippi River in our local culture.

Artist Jeanie Cousley was selected to paint colorful scenes of life on the river on a wall at the well-traveled intersection of Piasa St. (US Hwy 67) and 9th Street, which is the endcap of the Main Street district. Over 200 children were involved in painting the masterpiece, including a field trip of students from Riverbend Head Start & Family Services.

Alton Main Street thanks our many private donors and volunteers who made the project possible along with support from Jacoby Arts Center, Illinois Arts Council, Alton Community Service League, Alton Foundation, and Sherwin-Williams.