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State Will Pay for Arts Alley Facelift

arts alley drawing.JPG
WVIK News
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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
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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.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.