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Champaign-Urbana apartments brought to life with color

Artist Brett Whitacre works on his mural, “Hue-man Engineering,” at 608 E. White St. in Champaign.

A Champaign-based leasing company, Fairlawn Real Estate, is revitalizing their apartments with a new arts initiative.

The initiative is called Fairlawn for the Arts, according to project manager for Fairlawn Real Estate Tom Hagensick.

He says the initiative both supports the arts and brings a fresh look to apartments in the Champaign-Urbana area.

“I think that the buildings that we’re working on have been perceived as tired maybe and needing some life breathed into them,” Hagensick said. “And I think this was an opportunity to incorporate something very vibrant into the buildings.”

There are two apartments so far with new murals in the Champaign-Urbana area.

One is located at 806 W. Illinois St. in Urbana and the other at 608 E. White St. in Champaign.

Artist Rafael Blanco worked on the property in Urbana. He says the mural represents the performing arts showcased nearby at the Krannert Center.

“Usually the walls that I paint are boring walls. They are gray. They are blank. They are forgotten walls that no one is paying attention to,” Blanco said. “Until I come and I do a work of art that is impactful. Then people are looking at it. They have to and that’s when the conversation starts.”

Brett Whitacre is the muralist who designed the mural on 608 E. White St. in Champaign.

The mural is called “Hue-man Engineering” and reflects the engineering buildings that are near the apartment.

“I had a couple of people I engaged with, just to see what they were thinking because a lot of people look and they don’t say anything,” Whitacre said. “A couple of people thanked me for doing this because it’s going to brighten their walk to and from school every day.”

Hagensick says two more apartments in the Urbana-Champaign area will have murals soon as part of the Fairlawn initiative.

Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez-Perez

Luis Velazquez- Perez recently earned a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is now pursuing his Master's in Journalism. Aside as an intern at Illinois Newsroom, Velazquez-Perez has written for The Daily Illini, Cicero Independiente and C-U CitizenAccess. He aspires to be a bilingual public radio journalist

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