A new mural created in collaboration between DeKalb and Northern Illinois University celebrates the City as the Home of the Huskies.
A final touch of NIU spirit was added Aug. 17 to the Huskie Pride mural in the Annie Glidden Road underpass just south of West Lincoln Highway. Six NIU athletics flags were mounted along the top of the walls capping off work that began in June. The long underpass walls have been painted cardinal red, a nine-foot-tall Huskie image greets visitors from the center column and the words “Huskie Nation” and “NIU” have been added in large white lettering. The painting was completed by DeKalb Public Works and NIU Paint Shop employees.
“By creating this mural along an important gateway to the City and NIU campus, it sends a strong message that DeKalb is Huskie Nation,” said Mayor Cohen Barnes. “The great part of this project is that it can be expanded in the future. With walls stretching 500 feet, there is room for the community to grow the mural with additional imagery.”
The collaborative effort is another example of the strong bond between the City and the University, according to NIU Chief of Staff Matt Streb.
“Whether it is enhancing our Homecoming activities or putting up street signs around campus and on Greek row with the Huskie logo, this is another collaboration with the City of DeKalb to help us generate Huskie Pride,” Streb said. “We are grateful to have partners in the City who are committed to the success of the University and are proud to be a college town.”
Most of the project was funded by a T-Mobile Hometown Grant awarded to DeKalb’s Citizen’s Community Enhancement Commission (CCEC) for public art. Additional support was provided by NIU Divisions of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development, Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications, and Finance and Facilities.
CCEC Chair Brad Hoey said the grant funding is being used to complete a project that has been discussed for many years.
“As an NIU alumnus and retiree, I am personally very excited that the Huskie Pride mural is coming to fruition,” said Hoey. “I know both the University and City of DeKalb have long wanted a high-visibility, welcoming element at this major gateway to our community, and I’m pleased that the CCEC is able to contribute to this vision becoming a reality through the T-Mobile Hometown grant.”
The Huskie Pride project is part of the City’s investment in public art. Community volunteers continue to work on mosaic pieces for a mural to be created on City Hall. The popular Paint-A-Plug program, where community members turn fire hydrants into works of art, has entered another year. Vinyl wraps featuring the designs of digital artists were installed on three utility boxes this spring, and designs are being accepted for another three utility boxes in the downtown. Information on participating in these programs can be found on the City’s website at tinyurl.com/3j9dfm84.
A man walks next to the NIU lettering on the west wall of the Huskie Pride mural in the Annie Glidden Road underpass in DeKalb.
A flag flies along the wall of the Huskie Pride mural in the Annie Glidden Road underpass in DeKalb.