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Quad-City artist brings life and business to East Moline

The effort to bring more business and projects to downtown East Moline is continuing with artwork from a Moline native.

Artist Nayely Cortez grew up in Moline and is helping small businesses by attracting more customers with her artwork on exterior windows. Painted cultural pieces can be found on exterior windows of small businesses on 15th Avenue in East Moline. “A lot of my friends always said I was good at art, but I never really showed my talent to people,” Cortez said.

Cortez’ children even saw her talent, and it eventually sparked into something positive for downtown East Moline. “They love it,” Cortez said. “They brag about me all the time to their friends and their school.”

A local organization is hoping it brings more business to the area. Cortez collaborated with , a volunteer organization dedicated to the revitalization of the community through shared resources. Main Street obtained a Secure Arts Dollars Grant from Quad City Arts allowing Cortez to show her artwork, and potentially teach students as well.

“Usually it’s something to do with the business,” Cortez said. “Like if it’s food, I’ll advertise that, so it’s more of an advertisement for them. It just attracts people. This is a great community and I feel like everybody gets together here. Everyone it kind of like a family.”

“We’ve reached out to Blackhawk College to get Nelly some help,” Patricia Hansen, East Moline Street President, said. “We would have the students experience what it’s like to work on windows, and see if maybe that’s their niche. Students would be alongside a paid artist, so we’re trying to make it a community project.”

East Moline is planning to launch its revitalization project in the near future, provided partly by a nearly $24 million Federal Raise Grant. “Until then, we just wanted to add something extra,” Hansen said. “I really hope that people come down, not only to the events but just to enjoy the art.”

East Moline Main Street will host events in the future celebrating cultural holidays, attracting individuals to 15th Avenue, where most small businesses are located. “These types of events help offset those types of increases,” Gracie Macias, Vice President for East Moline Main Street, said. “There’s a lot of individuals that we heard comments from last year saying they’ve never been down here. A lot of our local businesses were very successful that day and that’s what we’re hoping for this year as well.”

With the addition of Cortez’ artwork, Main Street believes their events and projects will attract more customers for small business owners in East Moline. “They liked my artwork because I put a lot of detail in their business,” Cortez said. “I put a lot of life into it as you can tell, so that’s how it kind of started and it just continued on.”

East Moline Main Street will host their 2nd Annual on Saturday, May 4 from 12:00-8:00 p.m. For more information, click .