The Murals

1995 seems like forever, yet not so long ago, that blank canvases of brick began to come to life to tell the story of Sterling, Illinois: its earliest settlers, scenes from its past, important moments in history that make Sterling the great community it is today.

Thanks to new energy from our Keystone Group, a revamped Mural Committee formed in late 2021. After a thorough inspection of the murals, the group began prioritizing their maintenance needs. While a few of the murals are in need of more significant repairs, many of them are just in need of a little cleaning and new layer of protective coating to preserve them for years to come. These tasks will be ongoing, as planning and fundraising efforts take place to address some of the more detailed repairs needed to others.

“Adelante” was restored in 2022 by the original muralist, Robert Valadez.

Throughout the summer of 2023, Gregg Morris with Brush Brothers Painting helped our committee touch up and seal a number of our murals to prevent deterioration. Those murals include the “Sterling Hydraulic Co.,” “Old Downtown,” “The Lady Zouaves,” ” The Secret Six,” “First Avenue Bridge” and “The First City Hall and Fire Station.”

How can you help?

Help us continue to restore and preserve the murals which share Sterling’s rich history for generations to come.

Donations are now being accepted to help with further restorations. You may use the button below to donate online, or make your cash or check donation to Sterling Main Street, 15 E. 3rd Street, Sterling, IL 61081. Be sure to note “Murals” with your donation. Call 815-626-8610 or Contact Us for more information.

It really was an exciting time back in 1995, the start of a dream to enhance our fair city by creating big, bold, beautiful historical murals. Our intent then, which continues today, is to see to completion such projects through public donations, without any tax dollars being spent.

The Sterling Mural Society has chosen some great subjects to depict our history. A lot of study and research went into each mural selection and final matching of subject with the best location in the downtown area.

These murals proudly reflect our past, one that silently proclaims to local citizens and visitors alike – “Visit us, enjoy us, be a part of us.”

As Sterling continues to reinvent itself for the future, citizens new and old can be proud of this past and use it as a base for continued growth and accomplishment.

Click here for an online story map showing the locations of each of the murals for a self-guided tour.

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