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A World of Color: Renowned Muralist Partners With Area Teens to Brighten Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON – A Central Illinois native is bringing his craft back home.
BLOOMINGTON - Regional Alternative School students are expanding their imaginations beyond the walls of the building.

For the past few days, they've been heading outdoors, moving toward a goal of putting their creativity in the spotlight.

It’s all thanks to the help of a man who's discovered his talent about the time he was their age.

"The project gives them a chance.  Gives them an opportunity to contribute now,” said muralist Joel Bergner.

Bergner, a Bloomington native, has been creating murals across the world for years.

"Latin America, Brazil, El Salvador, New Mexico, Cuba...also in Africa."

So when he got the chance to partner with students on a hometown project, it stirred up lots of excitement.

"I like painting with him,” said student Dan Lane.  “He's a really good artist.  Honestly, I wish I had his artistic ability."

The theme of the mural is called "Second Chances."

It’s an idea inspired by the students.

"One of the images they really gravitated towards was the phoenix, rising from the ashes because that is a symbol of rebirth,” Bergner explained.

"With destruction there still can be good that comes out of it,” explained student Kaylee Ballinger.  “It’s just a good way to express yourself."

“We all get second chances,” added Lane.

"I think that's really powerful for young people, not to feel marginalized and separate from the rest of their community,” said Bergner.  “Art can be a way to make learning with other subjects more fun."

As the mission to brighten Bloomington is fulfilled...the students say they're proud to be part of a project where teamwork and talent soar.

In the Spotlight:

The mural can be found at 121 North Main Street downtown.

An unveiling ceremony takes place Saturday October 12th, at 3pm.

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