There’s a lot of talent at Young Rembrandts and it’s flowing into the streets!
Recently the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission sponsored a public art project, “New Call for Art,” inviting local artists to submit designs featuring images to raise awareness about storm water and the importance of storm drains. Bill Duca has been the artist and cartoonist at Young Rembrandts for over 25 years. His was one of the designs selected, out of hundreds of submissions, and he’s been spending his days painting storm drains around the city of Elgin, Illinois.
I loved seeing Bill in the street painting, as bikers and walkers stopped to comment. Yes, the city provided the preparation and protective barricades! I love that he had a way to share his art with people he met. And now Elgin gets to show off his fun, playful and beautifully drawn cartoons. I love that too.
Public art is meant to get people excited about the city they live in, and Bill encountered a lot of rave reviews as he painted at an intersection near the local bike trail. Both walkers and bikers had a lot to say and seemed impressed the city was investing in the community. There were lots of connections, conversations and a general sense of good feeling and encouragement. Even after the police were called while painting a residential drain, ruffled feathers were easily calmed, and new friendships formed. Now there’s a big, bright, colorful mural to enjoy for the next couple of years.
The project started in early spring 2021, and 40 drains were chosen to paint throughout the city. The goal was to raise awareness about what storm drains do and get people outside to enjoy art. Bill’s art was so popular, the commission asked him to do 4 storm drains total. He was very intentional about telling a story to illustrate the importance of a clean water system in a fun, light-hearted way.
Art has a lot of power. To educate. To connect. To enlighten. It’s endless. If you’re in the Elgin, Illinois area, you can see Bill’s completed murals, on Monroe and Pennsylvania, as well as, Grove and Kimball, Washburn and Ryerson and, Cassidy Lane and Shadow Hill Drive.