Visualizing Community: Bicycle, Way of Life Mural

Location: Downtown Urbana (Bicycle Alley between Courier Cafe and Siam Terrace)

Why: Bicycle culture has a long history in Urbana. The mural project behind the Courier celebrates that heritage, paying homage to local legends like Paul’s Bike Shop that paved the way for the rich bicycle community that exists today. Painting celebrates and commemorates that history, but it also paves the way for fresh ideas and interactions to spring forth. Growing up in Urbana gave me a beautiful opportunity to enjoy that rich and welcoming sense of community on and off the bike, and the mural is a way of giving back some of that experience.

How: The actual mural will be a massive kinetic bike race brimming with references to local history and local business. It will occupy the alley side of the Busey center building, which is currently in the process of being renovated. The entire project will be documented in time-lapse so that the transformation of the alleyway into a community space can be shared as a blueprint for similar transformations throughout the Urbana-Champaign area.

What: The mural is the first step in building a space where people can congregate, with the neighborhood spirit that Paul’s once offered, and local business like Courier Cafe, and Neutral Cycle offer today. As the painting in the alleyway concludes, a larger revitalization of the space will begin, building what was once a neglected urban space into a warm and welcome spot in the downtown area.

Special Thanks:
Matt Cho – Cafeteria & Company, Urbana, Illinois
Paul Nicholson – Paul’s Bicycle Shop, Eugene, Oregon
& all the people who funded this project

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