Belvidere's murals were the inspiration for this Illinois town.

Fran Volz is taking on a new challenge to spread his artistic touch to "The Hub City". This time, it's in painting giant murals of old Hollywood stars on buildings in the downtown area.

Fran told the Rochelle News Leader that his inspiration for these murals came from seeing those in Belvidere. However, instead of painting the "nostalgic themes and old-time local shop scenes" as seen in Belvidere, Fran is painting larger than life murals of Hollywood movie stars.

He said that "I thought I’d step it up a notch and focus on nationally recognizable figures — in this case Hollywood movie stars. So when people come to Rochelle, they can get their picture taken with Marilyn Monroe or Elvis."

He's currently working on a painting of Marilyn Monroe which "is positioned on the side of a Cherry Avenue business and is visible to those traveling on Lincoln Highway."

Volz has plans for two more murals featuring Elvis and John Wayne. These 12-foot by 11-foot paintings will be added to the sides of local businesses in the downtown as well.

He is also in discussions to "[procure] grants for local artists to paint other structures in the area."

Now that will be something of interest too.

Can't wait to see his masterpieces when they're done.

I just wonder, will Rochelle become the next "City of Murals"?





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