How a trustee’s inspirational signs led East Dundee to create arts council

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, East Dundee Village Trustee Tricia Saviano spent time making signs with encouraging quotes from Bob Marley.

She was surprised by the comments she got and the requests for signs. In all, she created 30 signs that wound up being displayed in East Dundee and surrounding suburbs. Some have been taken down, but Ella’s sign in her yard reminding people “Every little thing gonna be alright” is still on display.

“It’s just really healing to have art around,” said Saviano, a licensed counselor who employs art therapy when she can in her sessions.

The reaction she got from her signs served as validation to what she’s known all along — art heals and people love art.

Now Saviano, who was elected to the East Dundee village board in April, will head up a newly created arts council for the village board.

“Art has always been my first love,” said Saviano, who previously owned an art studio and continues to paint and work in the arts.

The village is accepting applications to fill five spots on the new council. The seats are open to those who live or work in East Dundee. Trustee Andy Sauder will serve on the council with Saviano.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Village Administrator Erika Storlie said. “Enhancing and adding to the art in our community will make it more pleasant for our residents and visitors.”

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

Sauder said he sees the council as a way to highlight local artists and “give them a voice.”

As of Thursday, the village had received 10 applications for the five seats on the council, Storlie said. The village board will appoint council members in April, and Storlie is proposing a starting budget of $25,000. Trustees will have to approve the budget.

The council will focus on expanding the arts in the community whether through a public art campaign similar to what Chicago did with the Cows on Parade, a film festival or other events to highlight the village and local artists, Saviano said.

Those interested in serving on the arts council can apply through the village at www.eastdundee.net. The first round of reviews will begin this week.

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