Barry McNamara  |  Published July 19, 2021

Mural Celebrates Community

Alumni Quick, Thompson working on mural outside of Tin Cup coffee shop in downtown Monmouth.


TAKING SHAPE: College art graduates Rebecca Quick '21 and Kendall Thompson '17 are about ... TAKING SHAPE: College art graduates Rebecca Quick '21 and Kendall Thompson '17 are about halfway through their work on a colorful mural in downtown Monmouth.MONMOUTH, Ill. – It’s only fitting that a project celebrating the community atmosphere of the city of Monmouth features local residents playing a supporting role.

Monmouth College art majors Kendall Thompson ’17 and Rebecca Quick ’21 are in the midst of a three-month project to paint a large mural on the outside wall of Tin Cup, a new coffee shop in the 200 block of South Main Street. They are doing the work through the artist-in-residency program at Monmouth’s Buchanan Center for the Arts, where Kristyne Gilbert ’90 is its executive director.

“I think it’s a wonderful combination of Monmouth College, the Buchanan Center for the Arts and the community coming together,” said Gilbert. “That’s what it takes – an entire community coming together, whether that’s building a school or building infrastructure or improving our retail and economic future. It takes a team.”

And leading that team is a pair of talented artists in Thompson and Quick.

“They were chosen from a very select pool of applicants,” said Gilbert of the nation-wide search for the residency. “As an alum of Monmouth, I’m excited to see other Monmouth alumni be able to give back to the community. It’s been great to have them this summer.”

MURAL MASTERS: Kendall Thompson '17 (left) and Rebecca Quick '21 pose in front of the mor... MURAL MASTERS: Kendall Thompson '17 (left) and Rebecca Quick '21 pose in front of the more colorful portions of the mural.Planning essentially began the day following Quick’s May 16 graduation, and the first priming work was done June 4. The mural is scheduled to be completed before the end of the artists’ residency on Aug. 31.

Prior to this summer, Thompson and Quick said they’d crossed paths and were aware of each other, but now they know each other quite well.

“They work so well together and communicate so well,” said Gilbert.

Community focus

“One of the big focuses of the mural is the community coming together and the variety of cultures that are represented in Monmouth,” said Thompson, who worked with Quick to come up with the design for Tin Cup owners Mike and Janice Sheid.

“This started about a year ago,” said Janice. “I saw Kristyne at an event at Pattee Plaza (near the Public Square in downtown Monmouth), and I told her I’d like to talk with her about having a mural done at our business. She said the timing was perfect – that she was in need of a project.”

Once Gilbert secured the funding and the artists, the next step was the mural’s design.

“My husband and I wanted a time capsule – a representation of Monmouth’s history,” said Janie. “Kendall and Rebecca asked, ‘Do you trust us?’ They drew up something different – what you see developing here. ’Let’s do something a little more modern’ is what they told us. I’m so glad we let them lead us. They’ve been wonderful to work with.”

The idea of community is very important to the Sheids.

“Anybody who works on the mural gets their handprint on it, and even people who don’t work on it but who just stop by can put their handprint on it.” Kendall Thompson

“One of the questions we often get is, ‘Why did you open in the middle of a pandemic?’” said Janice of the opening of Tin Cup in the spring of 2020. “Well, we ordered the equipment in February and it arrived in March, so we had to go for it. The community has supported us so well. Last year, we went from no seating, to minimal seating and back to no seating. Without the community, we wouldn’t have made it.”

Some of the subjects in the mural are the Buchanan Center for the Arts, the Warren County Public Library, the Citizen’s Lake bridge and the fountain in Central Park on the Public Square. Quick and Thompson also give a nod to their alma mater with an image of bagpipes.

The more, the merrier

At least one of the artists works on the mural five days a week, although Mother Nature has decreased that number with “eight or nine” rainouts.

The public is invited to join Quick and Thompson from 2-5 p.m. Wednesdays. No art experience is required.

“Anybody who works on the mural gets their handprint on it, and even people who don’t work on it but who just stop by can put their handprint on it,” said Thompson.

Still to be added is a colorful tree in the upper right-hand corner that will feature Monmouth’s iconic maple leaf and “symbolize the community coming together,” said Quick. Words might be a part of that design, but the mural will definitely include the phrase “You matter” in what Quick called the “photo-op portion” of the mural, by all the colorful handprints.

Thompson’s family attended one of the Wednesday work days and did some of the stripe painting, while Quick’s family visited in mid-July and added their handprints to the growing collection. A regular helper is Harlee Scavezze, the Sheids’ 12-year-old granddaughter, and Buchanan Center interns Molly Mattan and Madison Riggs have also lent a hand.

Quick has a background in public art, doing a summer project in Bettendorf, Iowa, in 2019 and one in her hometown of Moline, Illinois, the following summer. The latter project included working on a mural about half the size of the one that she and Thompson are painting. Quick also majored in math, giving her the same academic combination as the painter of the Buchanan Center’s mural, 2018 Monmouth graduate Natalie Curtis.

“I like all the colors we’ve put into this mural and all the community help we’ve received,” said Quick.

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