Libbie Frost’s State Street Bridge Mural

Artist: Libbie Frost

Title: Unknown

Location: On the north east side of State Street Bridge, near 114 N. Water Street, Rockford, IL 61107

Date: 2018

Description: This was a 2018 mural that features butterflies, bright blue and the name Rockford. Please park and look for this mural on the bridge.

Newspaper article written by Georgette Braun (source available below):

“Last summer, next to the wall of a well-traveled downtown bridge, strangers struck up conversations with Libbie Frost.

“Maybe this will keep the crime away,” one man told her as she painted a colorful mural on the northeast side of the State Street bridge at the Rock River.

“We really needed this here,” another person told her about the design featuring flower and butterfly images and the word “Rockford” painted in black on a bright blue background.

And she conversed in Spanish more than a few times with two men who watched her paint the 30-foot-long mural while they were taking a lunch break from work.

“I felt enlivened to use my language skills meaningfully in the real word,” Frost, 18, said in an email interview with the Register Star.

Frost raised about $500 through GoFundMe and Facebook to buy paints, brushes, primer and buckets to create the mural.

Frost in May was honored with the Register Star’s Young American Award for outstanding youth, and was recognized as president of her class and being captain of the school swim team. She graduated this year from Boylan Catholic High School and plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall. She said in an essay as part of her application to the university that she was “greatly humbled by the positive feedback I received from excited citizens” about her mural. She plans to study management consulting and industrial design.

The mural’s vibrant colors represent optimism, Frost said. The purple coneflowers are a nod to the city’s symbolic flower. The monarch butterflies represent “transformation into something greater — hope,” she told the Register Star.

“People love the bright colors, the ways in which it resembles our city, the location by the City Market, how it is visible from the river/bridges and how it is a great photo destination,” Frost said.

“I love that Rockford is now working to enhance the amount of its murals,” she said. She and her mother, Lisa Frost, led a team that painted murals in May on 30 pillars under the Jefferson Street Bridge as one of eight new mural projects downtown. “Murals can display city culture, communicate message and bring color to dull areas,” she said.

“The wall on the side of the bridge is no longer a place of despair, but rather a place of pride.”

Name: Libbie Frost

Age: 18

City of residence: Rockford

School/college: 2019 Boylan Catholic High School graduate; University of Notre Dame Class of 2023

Quote: “The wall on the side of the bridge is no longer a place of despair, but rather a place of pride.”

Sources:

  1. Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Rockford Public Art Trail.” Website Accessed 8/3/2023. https://www.gorockford.com/things-to-do/public-art-trail/
  2. Braun, Georgette. “Young painter says mural on Rockford bridge wall a ‘place of pride.” Rockford Register Star. June 29, 2019. Web article accessed 9/5/2023:  https://www.rrstar.com/story/news/local/2019/06/29/young-painter-says-mural-on/4799779007/

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