City Hall Mural

The text "DeKalb City Hall Mural" over colorful images from the mural design

Sign up here to become a mural volunteer

The community's mural
The City Hall mural was inspired by the community’s ideas gathered at a pair of workshops in February facilitated by the artist, Danielle Casali. Community members worked in small groups to brainstorm ideas for imagery to include in the design centered around the mural’s theme of belonging. Danielle also performed research with staff at the DeKalb County History Center and conducted online polls. The Citizens' Community Enhancement Commission (CCEC), which is made up of volunteers from DeKalb, provided feedback on the design and recommended City Council support, which was received on April 10. Most of the project's cost is being funded by the T-Mobile Mobile Hometown Grant awarded to the CCEC for public art. 

Along with serving as the mural’s theme, belonging is the spirit of the mural’s creation. In a partnership with the DeKalb Public Library, Danielle held volunteer sessions for several months to create the mural's mosaic pieces in a workspace located at the library. 

Now that the mosaic pieces have been installed, community members can volunteer to help complete the mural's painted portions.

Those interested in painting should email the artist at to be added to the communications list.

Painting volunteers should be at least 15 years old with painting experience. Participants will need to sign a waiver. Those under 18 years old need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and the parent or guardian will need to sign the waiver on the minor’s behalf.

The design
Danielle began the design with a landscape composition suggesting rural farming and prairie landscape. She then incorporated contemporary agriculture and DeKalb’s abundant community gardens. The metaphor of a garden is full of possibilities: a vibrant, diverse garden that is well tended, where the roots are strong and plants and pollinators have a vital, interdependent relationship. DeKalb is not only a land of traditional agriculture, but also a diverse city where individuals tend to literal community gardens and contribute to the larger community. Danielle’s aim is for the mural to represent DeKalb without repeating images that already exist in downtown murals.
The City Hall mural design includes native plants, crops, the Kishwaukee River, the sun and geese.

The mural will be created on the two-story exterior south wall of City Hall.

Some details

A hand making the Huskie pride sign & a pair of hands making the ASL sign for belonging.

Hands are intermingled among the roots and vines representing multiple generations planting together. The hand on the left is making the Huskie pride sign, while the pair of hands on the right make the American Sign Language sign for belonging.

There are quotes speaking to the idea of belonging woven into the bottom of the design. One from Helen Keller reads, “Alone we can do so little, Together we can do so much.”

Niches in the design, including one between the hands, provide a place where people can stand and take a photo in the mural.

A mural design shows hands holding an elote, kabob and Paleta.The design features garden plants used by local restaurants to make delicacies such as elote, kabobs and Paletas.

A mural design detail shows four geese flying with sunbeams behind them.The geese will be made of mosaic to shine in the sunlight.

Questions on the City Hall Mural project can be sent to Scott Zak, City Staff Liaison to the Citizens' Community Enhancement Commission.