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State Will Pay for Arts Alley Facelift

arts alley drawing.JPG
what Arts Alley in downtown Rock Island might look like in the future.

With help from the state of Illinois, a small space in downtown Rock Island will soon host performances, other live programs, murals, and art exhibits. The city and Quad Cities Chamber have received a 267,000 dollar grant to fix up Arts Alley, in the 17-hundred block of 2nd Avenue.

Jack Cullen, Director of Downtown Rock Island for the Chamber, says the public space has been under-utilized in recent years. And the goal is to "take it to the next level."

arts alley mayor thoms.JPG
Mayor Thoms in Arts Alley

"And create a tourist attraction, a destination for the Quad Cities, for downtown Rock Island, and beyond. So we believe the new designs, coupled with the plans to program this space, really have the capability to do just that."

Quad City Arts Executive Director Kevin Maynard says the arts help drive tourism.

"It helps drive businesses into our community and helps drive visitors here as well. People go out of their way to see public art. One of my favorite statistics that I always like to tell people is that studies continue to show that over 68 per cent of tourism is driven by art."

Local residents are encouraged to check out drawings of what Arts Alley might look like in the future, and submit their comments.

After a final review by the Rock Island city council, the project is expected to begin in the fall, and be completed next year.