Bloomington Council may make Juneteenth a city holiday; will discuss creating Public Arts Commission

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — City leaders in Bloomington want to revitalize downtown by displaying more art.

Monday night the city’s council will meet to  look at an ordinance that, if approved, would create a 7-person commission to overlook art installations in public places. The commission would review proposals and make recommendations to the city council for final consideration.

Mayor Tari Renner says for years the city has been working to add more art in town, however, he says, it was never organized.


City leaders are also considering adding another official holiday to it’s city calendar. On Monday the council will be voting on an item that would make Juneteenth a city holiday.

The idea, brought up by councilmember Mboka Mwilambwe, will come at a hefty price. According to the agenda the cost to make Juneteenth a holiday, and give city employees the day off, would be north of $160,000. Money that could come from taxpayers.

Mwilambwe says he believes making Juneteenth a holiday will help community members better understand each other. June 19th 1865 marks the day the nation’s last slaves were told of their freedom, even though the emancipation proclamation was effective in January of 1863.

If the council votes yes, the city’s Human Relations Commission would be required to hold a day-long event celebrating Juneteenth in partnership with other community organizations, such as the NAACP. 

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be streamed on the city’s YouTube Page.

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