Rockford region plans final CRE8IV mural, music and arts fest

The Dustin Eckhardt mural in Loves Park includes a colorful character immersed in a playful environment of local Illinois flora and species, with an emphasis on native pollinators. The mural is among more than 40 created in the region in recent years. (Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau photo)

Rockford’s CRE8IV mural, music and arts festival will have one last blast this spring. 

The Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau announced it will celebrate and sunset the CRE8IV mural program after five seasons with a festival from May 31-June 2. 

The free event will take place in downtown Rockford near the intersection of First Street and East State Street and will include live music and creative performances on two stages, mural painting, local food trucks, creative interactive activities, mural tours and more.  

Artists and bands from around the country, as well as local favorites, are set to create new murals and perform on stage. 

In 2019 when we launched CRE8IV, we envisioned Rockford as an art gallery full of large, impressive and impactful works of art – the city was the canvas,” said John Groh, RACVB president/CEO. “At the conclusion of this year’s festival, more than 50 murals will have been created by local and visiting artists. Their work has transformed our community into a vibrant outdoor museum.” 

Local and visiting artists will create at least five new large-scale, vibrant murals. In addition to large-scale murals, planned projects include the creation of mini pop-up murals in an additional five locations. 

The festival will include a variety of fun activities including free take-home art activities available for all ages and abilities. Attendees can also expect a Craft Beer & Distillery Tent, food trucks, street performers (including magicians, balloon artist, face painting, glitter tattoos) and more. 

Over the three days of CRE8IV Mural & Arts Fest, Rockford will witness a wide array of music genres as national touring bands from across the US mix with our favorite locals bands. Genres include New Orleans style jazz and hip hop, Rock, pop, funk, soul, country and bluegrass music. 

Confirmed Mural Locations include: Jefferson St. Bridge abutment (westside): sponsored by John D. Brubaker Family Foundation; 308 E. State St., sponsored by Collins Aerospace; 1104 Elm St., sponsored by Platform Group Healthy Housing Solutions; 3502 E. State St.: sponsored by United Way; East State and First Street intersection street mural, sponsored by RACVB Foundation Board of Directors/` 

Additional murals will be added as funding is confirmed. 

Mini Mural Locations will be located at: 401 E. State St., parking lot, three sides of electrical box; 111 N. 1st St. – south facing wall on Noah’s Ark; 330 E. State – alley behind SRM Prints; 324 E. State St – alley behind Juju Rey’s; 111 W. State St. – utility shed. 

The mural designs and artists will be revealed in the coming weeks. The new additions are set to be completed by the end of the festival. Sculptures are also a part of the CRE8IV Initiative. Some sculptures will be leaving the region, and three new sculptures will be installed by June. Artists are selected through an open Call for Artists process and a local committee-led selection process.  

A curatorial review committee comprised of partner organization representatives, neighborhood representatives and residents will review the proposals and concepts, consider the artists’ experiences with similar projects, and then select the artists for this year’s CRE8IV festival. The selected artists represent a diverse group of local and visiting artists with varied backgrounds and artistic approaches. 

To date, 44 museum-quality CRE8IV murals have been created in Rockford, Roscoe, Loves Park, Rockton, and Pecatonica.   

I love seeing people take selfies at our CRE8IV murals and then post them on social media. They are a huge attraction and truly help beautify our city,” said City of Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. CRE8IV has been a wonderful initiative for our community, and I cannot wait to see our neighbors, residents and out-of-towners alike celebrate art in downtown Rockford this year.” 

For more information about CRE8IV including announcements, a public art map and other resources visit or follow @GoRockford on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.