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Reviving College History: Two IVCC Alumni Collaborate on Mural

This spring, Morgan Phillips and Emily Maze will make an unexpected impact as they engage in a significant artistic endeavor tied to their alma mater.

In a repurposed church in Rutland, stroke by stroke, they are bringing to life Ray Paseka’s vision of IVCC on a 10-foot-high-by-20-foot-wide mural commissioned by the college to celebrate its centennial anniversary. The mural, to be mounted above the C-Building entrance, seamlessly merges the past and present of IVCC, paying homage to its journey from La Salle-Peru High School to its modern campus.

Ray Paseka, a founder of Westclox Studios, renowned for his public art pieces capturing local history, guides Phillips and Maze in this transformative project. Their previous collaborations include capturing Mendota’s railroad history and Ottawa’s rich heritage.

The indoor mural serves as a captivating gallery for a diverse audience, from college students to theater-goers, promising a lasting impact on all who pass through. Paseka emphasizes the significance of this art, especially for the youth, as it adds vibrancy and historical depth to the community.

Maze and Phillips share a passion for public art, understanding its power to uplift communities and evoke excitement. Maze, inspired by the Chicago Cows Parade, values the tangible impact of art on community aesthetics. Phillips echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of community pride and appreciation for local heritage.

While delving into historical narratives through their mural work, they also reflect on the passage of time and the evolution of their surroundings. Phillips, with a deep-rooted connection to IVCC through her father, finds solace in the familiarity of the college halls. Maze, with a family history intertwined with the Illinois Valley, merges her past with her present through artistry.

Despite their academic backgrounds diverging from art, Maze in tourism and parks administration and Phillips in industrial design, their shared artistic journey has been enriching. Maze’s talent for metalwork and Phillips’ attention to detail complement their collaborative efforts, breathing life into Paseka’s vision.

As they meticulously craft the mural, Maze delicately airbrushes the L-P High School clock tower, while Phillips infuses subtle nods to local history within the artwork. Paseka’s design features two contrasting couples, symbolizing the intersection of past and present ideas that shape the community college’s legacy.

Paseka’s artistic philosophy encourages embracing the past while innovating for the future. He challenges Maze and Phillips to push their creative boundaries, infusing the mural with a dynamic blend of historical significance and contemporary flair.

Artist Emily Maze meticulously refines an iconic clock tower on an indoor mural commemorating Illinois Valley Community College’s century-long legacy, originally established at La Salle-Peru High School. The mural, set to adorn the C-Building entrance, stands as a tribute to the institution’s rich history and enduring impact.