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CityLink Unveils New Bus Wrap Designed by Local Artist Brenda Pagan Celebrating Black Culture and Diversity in Peoria on Juneteenth

A new bus wrap on CityLink bus 2245 celebrating Black culture and diversity in Peoria was unveiled at 10:00 a.m. on Juneteenth (June 19, 2023) at the Minority Business Development Center (2139 SW Adams St, Peoria, IL 61602). The bus wrap artwork was designed by local artist Brenda Pagan, in partnership with the Peoria Guild of Black Artists (PGOBA), and with the assistance of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois.

“We are pleased to unveil this new bus wrap on Juneteenth, an important day for Black Americans across the nation and right here in Peoria. This colorful and unique bus wrap designed by a talented local artist will help inspire others to appreciate the rich and diverse history and long-lasting impact the Black community has had in Peoria and beyond.”

Doug Roelfs, CityLink General Manager
Bus 2245 outsid of the Minority Business Development Center after the unveiling event.

ArtsPartners of Central Illinois connected CityLink to the Peoria Guild of Black Artists, and a call for entry was placed for members of PGOBA to submit bus wrap designs for CityLink to review. Three members of PGOBA submitted bus wrap design proposals for consideration, and ultimately Pagan’s design was selected as the winning proposal. All three artists who submitted proposals are receiving stipends, and Pagan is receiving an additional stipend for her winning design.

“Public art tells a story about who we are as a community and what we value. It reflects our spirit, collective experiences — and, importantly, educates. Peoria has a wonderfully diverse arts and cultural scene, and as we continue to invest in it, we will see incredible results like this bus wrap. I cannot wait for the public to see Brenda Pagan’s breathtaking artwork in mobile form.:

Dr. Mae Gilliland Wright, Executive Director of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois3

The artist behind this bus wrap, Brenda Pagan, is a Peoria native, a graduate of Illinois Central College and a visual artist who specializes in drawing, painting, sculpting, mural art, writing, photography and videography. Pagan expertly created a unique bus wrap design on a digital platform that celebrates Black culture and diversity in Peoria.

“With Juneteenth, we celebrate our freedom of chattel slavery, but we also recognize the fight for freedom has long continued. Freedom to me is the ability to rest, to take time to appreciate the detail and the beauty of life. I wanted to create a scene that looked towards that hopeful future of freedom, while also celebrating how far we’ve come. My aim was to create a restful pastoral landscape — using elements of our Peoria river valley — as the backdrop to Black peace.”

Brenda Pagan, designer of the bus wrap and founding member of PGOBA
Local artist and designer of the bus wrap Brenda Pagan.

Pagan is a founding member of the PGOBA, a group of Black creatives from within the Peoria community. Their mission is to bring the Black creative community together, uplift each other, advocate and provide a platform for Black folk in the Peoria arts community.

“The Guild is honored to be a part of this event. The artist call and bus wrap really encompasses our vision and mission: Giving Black artists a platform to highlight their talent, compensating artists for their labor, and making art accessible and beautifying our city. We welcome any opportunities that can foster positivity and collaboration as this project has and we are eternally grateful when organizations and artists reach out to us.”

Morgan Mullen, PGOBA Operations Manager

CityLink partnered with the Minority Business Development Center to host the unveiling, and CEO/Founder Denise Moore was enthusiastic about the event taking place at their facilities on SW Adams.

“African Americans have always played a vital role in the building and shaping of America, as well as the City of Peoria.  We are pleased that CityLink sees the value of acknowledging those contributions and feel honored to play a small role in helping to unveil this bus wrap.”

Denise Moore, Minority Business Development Center CEO/Founder

CityLink plans for this wrap to remain on bus 2245 for the next 12 months, and the bus will circulate throughout its fixed route service area, which includes Peoria, Peoria Heights, West Peoria, East Peoria and Pekin. For information on CityLink schedules and routes, please call 309-676-4040 or visit www.ridecitylink.org.

Additional information on the other participating organizations can be found at www.peoriagoba.com for the Peoria Guild of Black Artists; www.artspartners.net for ArtsPartners of Central Illinois; and www.mbdcillinois.org for the Minority Business Development Center.

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