Freeport, Illinois — Paint the Port, a community-wide street paint party is making preparations for its second year in downtown Freeport. Over 700 participants and spectators took part in the event in 2017, which turned Chicago Avenue into a large canvas filled with colorful, creative works of art each measuring 4’ square. The event will take place on Friday, September 21st beginning at 4:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. Organizers are expecting the number of participants to grow, based on the positive feedback received from the community. The event’s founder, Katie Ludwig says “Freeport has a lot going for it and positive momentum is building. Paint-the-Port helps people see the potential of this city by showing that when we all come together, progress can be made and beauty can come from it. Whether you participate by being a painter, sponsor, or volunteer you all contribute to the revitalization of Freeport.”
Proceeds generated from sponsorships are used to help fund the City of Freeport’s façade improvement grant program. Last year the event raised $10,000 that was matched with $20,000 from the City to provide grants to downtown business owners looking to revitalize their storefronts and buildings. Five projects were selected to receive funds to help offset the costs of improvements that increase functionality and add to the beauty of historical properties. Lowell Crow, City Manager of Freeport says “this is a true example of the city and local community coming together to make our Downtown more inviting for businesses and visitors alike.”
One of the funded projects was submitted by Brittany Alexander, owner of Strands Hair Salon. Alexander recently moved her business into what was for decades Nauman’s Barber Shop, a fitting location for her hair salon but the building was in need of a facelift to bring it into the 21st century. The façade improvement program helped Brittany with the costs of new siding, glass doors, historically appropriate windows and a new entry. She recently debuted the completely renovated space in May.
Early registration is now being accepted until August 17th on a first come, first served basis for $15. After the 17th, the price will go up to $20. New to the event this year will be musical performances by local and regional artists and the 3-Headed Monster food truck will be serving their award winning BBQ.
Paint the Port partner, Freeport Art Museum, sees the event as an opportunity to bring the arts to a wider audience. “This event provides a wonderful way in which to foster creativity and fun. It is very rewarding for us as an arts organization to be a part of bringing hundreds of people downtown to take part in what is essentially a large public art piece. We look forward to helping make this year’s event a success” said Jessica Modica, FAM Executive Director.
For more information, call the museum at 815-235-9755.