In 2012, the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County formed the Decatur Mural Project. It quickly evolved into a committee that was spear headed by the Decatur Area Arts Council. The Decatur Mural Project works closely with area artists, property owners, the City, local service/volunteer groups and sponsors or funding agencies for the creation of the murals. The downtown area has been the recipient of several murals in recent years. Each is very different and has a story to tell.
Decatur Post Office Murals
The Decatur post office contains several Treasury Section of Fine Arts murals by Edward Millman, Mitchell Siporin and Edgar Britton. The murals were completed in 1938. Three different halls in the post office contain murals by each artist respectively.
Edward Millman Murals
- One South hall contains a series of three murals, consisting of two panels each, by Edward Millman. The murals are titled “Early Pioneers,” Social Consciousness,” and “Growth of Democracy in Illinois.”
- The murals show early pioneers and the development of social consciousness, but do so by showing the suffering of soldiers, Indians, blacks, and the common man. A judge or politician dressed well and holding a paper titled “Liberty Lines” stands over a slave who is in distress. In the opposite panel on the same wall, a man is writing on paper propped on a piece of wood next to a boy who holds a sickle (possibly a communist reference).
Mitchell Siporin Murals
- The central hall of the large post office building contains 3 panels depicting “The Fusion of Agriculture and Industry.”
- The 3 panels by Mitchell Siporin are in the central hall of the large post office building between the 2 halls that house works by Edward Millman and Edgar Britton. Siporin’s works lay a heavy emphasis on people and the work of the people who are hardworking grim-faced agriculture and industrial workers. He gives a nod to Abraham Lincoln carrying a book and an axe in the earliest panel with the split rail fence and the farm family.
Edgar Britton Murals
- The North hall contains a series of three two-panel murals by Edgar Britton, entitled “Frank Lloyd Wright and Carl Sandburg”, ”John Deere and Francis Parker”, and “Development of Illinois.”
- The color on these murals is brilliant throughout. The long panels show the development of Illinois one showing the hardship of early families and a farmer, the other showing coal mining, the steel industry, other industrial workers and the building of the railroad. The work is brutal and all of the workers are exerting heavy effort. The families are solemn. His portraits of famous men from Illinois are effective.
The trompe l’oeil (3-dimensional impression) mural was painted by many, headed by Kathryn Kozan, of Chicago, IL, in April 1985.