Making Space: A Mural and Documentary Project

Making Space: A Mural and Documentary Project

The Promise of Elgin Mural

This mural takes the place of the controversial mural, American Nocturne, that was taken down when its source material was revealed to be a photograph of a 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion Indiana. American Nocturne was on display for about 10 years in downtown Elgin.

This mural was installed as part of Making Space, an initiative organized by an ad-hoc group of community members in response to Black Lives Matter activism and the social protests that defined the summer of 2020. The story of 2020’s summer and this mural process have been documented in a documentary to ensure that the history is truthfully represented and not lost.

Designed in partnership with the community, artist Pablo Serrano installed this mural in the fall of 2021. Based on the history of Elgin and events of 2020 and influenced by the many community conversations and engagements held during the creation process, this mural serves as a constant reflection of who we are and a reminder of where we hope to be headed. This site, significant to Elgin’s art history, has been reclaimed and rededicated to this purpose and direction.

ARTIST STATEMENT about The Promise of Elgin
My name is Pablo Serrano and I am the artist responsible for the mural titled The Promise of Elgin , dedicated to the people of Elgin. I wanted to share what I’ve learned going through this cultural process alongside the Social Justice Collective that came together to launch the “Making Space” initiative to build on the activism against police brutality of 2020. Read the full artist statement.

Who are the People in the Mural?

Listen to the four-part narrative written and recorded by Chasity Gunn. (Instagram: @chasanngunn)

  1. Part 1 Bound For Elgin 6:23

Download PDF of audio track 1.

  1. Part 2 Establishing Roots 5:18

Download PDF of audio track 2.

  1. Part 3 Cultivating Community Amidst Adversity 5:21

Download PDF of audio track 3.

  1. Part 4 Paving The Way For Equity And Equality 6:22

Download PDF of audio track 4.

The Making Space Project would like to thank our partners: