Volunteers come out to paint messages of hope on boarded-up Naperville businesses

Chicago News

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Community members are coming together to spread hope through downtown Naperville after this week’s violence and looting.

Businesses that were boarded up out of fear and now showing signs of hope. 

 Asia Bell painted a portrait of George Floyd. She said she is grateful to have the support of this southwest suburban community. 

“It’s happened so many times and hasn’t been addressed properly,” she said. “So just that people care to say, ‘Hey I’m going to take time out of my day and to paint something and show that I actually care about this cause,’ means a lot.”

Several artists have painted pictures of support and love on blank plywood in downtown streets.

Ronav Pande was among them.

“I know there’s a lot of chaos in the world so I just wanted to get out in the community and spread some happiness,” Pande said.

Megan Drane owns Firefly Nights Photography. She asked on Facebook how to make her boarded up business look positive and uplifting while showing her support for protestors. That’s when Emily McDonald from Art Bar 39 Illinois stepped in supplying paint and guidance. 

“I think everybody was feeling a little helpless and like, ‘What can we do?’ And this is something anybody can do,” Drane said.

“Our whole mission is to reengage and reconnect people,” McDonald said. “We’re all about creating real human relationships and friendships.”

Katie Reed was also out painting.

“I think that it’s easy if you’re from Naperville to just be complacent and not really address issues,” she said. “If you stay in the Naperville bubble you aren’t really exposed to the struggles of people of color.”

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