ALTON — Alton Main Street is announcing a new public art project, a street mural which will be painted directly on the roadway at the intersection of State and 3rd Streets in the heart of Downtown Alton’s entertainment district.

The public is welcome to observe the artist at work from the nearby outdoor dining areas and visit the district to enjoy the mural upon completion. Creation of the mural will begin on Sunday, September 26th and the project is expected to take between 3-5 days to complete. State Street from Broadway to 4th Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for the duration of the installation. The work of art is expected to last a decade or more before requiring maintenance.

Besides the obvious benefits of beautifying a public space, street murals offer the added benefit of calming traffic which increases the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. Public art benefits urban environments by creating a safer community, generating relationships between constituents and businesses, and increasing economic revenue.

“Economically speaking, street art is a huge draw for residents and tourists alike. Visitors to the district will translate into shoppers and diners for our local businesses,” said Sara McGibany, Executive Director of Alton Main Street, adding “The addition of this colorful and intriguing piece of art to our urban environment will also serve to highlight the cultural vibrancy of Alton and demonstrate that our community is evolving and thriving.”

Artist Joe Miller has been selected to create the artwork. Miller originally hails from Staunton, IL, and is now based in Chicago. After attending Lewis & Clark Community College, he went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 2008. Miller is a professional muralist, whose work consists primarily of large-scale mural projects throughout the Chicagoland area, as well as across the country and around the world.

To learn more about the artist, visit For more information on the many ways that Alton Main Street is working to enhance and promote Alton’s historic downtown district, visit

Joe Miller, Lansing MuralArtist’s Statement: The ALTON RIPPLE

The Mighty Mississippi River, in its constant state of flow, doesn't really allow for much of a traditional splash or ripple. However, Alton Illinois, located alongside the steady current of the river has provided its own consistent state of flow, outwardly to the world and most certainly within its city limits. This city has provided a unique vibrance in the southwest corner of Illinois for longer than most of us can and will be able to remember. No town in the Alton area, Illinois or Missouri, possesses such a reputation as Alton's past provides, and that is clearly evident to every Alton resident and visitor. The artist Joe Miller, a former resident and Lewis and Clark Alumni, has had Alton on his mind since he left almost 20 years ago: "Something about Alton is special. It could be a combination of history, topography, jaw-dropping truths, or even haunted rumors, the people, and most certainly the curiosity of the future. I've never known exactly what, but it just IS a special place!!"

When you think of a ripple in the water, you think of an object intersecting a body of still water such as a pond or small lake. But in Alton, the ripple is evident even when paired next to one of the world's strongest currents. In this street installation, Joe Miller is attempting to abstractly represent this ripple broken down into individual molecules. The Alton Ripple, structured in a repetition of vibrancy that not only represents the body of water but the vast nature of the people that have intersected with this hardly forgotten town. The colorful dots flare outward like rings from a center point and pulse because the radiant progression encourages it. These individual colors wouldn't have nearly the effect unless sequentially placed side by side, they can represent a movement and an interest in the waves of past, present, and future. The Alton Ripple will provide us the possibility to intersect with an appreciation of the ground-level roots and excitement about Alton's future ripple.

Alton Main Street – engaging our community in the continued renewal of our historic downtown district and Mississippi River heritage by cultivating an attractive center of economic and social activity.

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