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Chroma 417 is Developing New Murals in Springfield

Daniel Malachowski founded Chroma to encourage public art in 417-land and change perception of what street art can be.

by Jamie Thomas

May 01 2021 at 8 a.m.

Hammons Field Cardinals mural by Chroma
Photo courtesy Chroma 417One of the murals Chroma 417 helped create is the Cardinals name painted on Hammons Field.

417 Magazine: What was the impetus for Chroma?
Daniel Malachowksi: I grew up in a family that liked to travel. We would take our summer vacations and drive from one coast to the other, and one of the things that kept my brother and I busy on the road was looking for trains. A lot of the time you’d see graffiti on trains and I always thought that was kind of cool. I really liked that kind of street art.

You go to a bigger city and you see a mural that could be three stories tall. You're standing at the base of this building looking up at this huge work of art and it's amazing to me that people have the talent and ability to do that. I think now that, with murals around the country and around the world, it's kind of changing the perception of art just being in a gallery.

417: How important do you think public art is in Springfield?
D.M.: You can see art everywhere here in Springfield. The more opportunity people have to see public art, the bigger and better it’s going to be. And there are economic benefits to it. You may have people traveling in to see some of the public art that we have to display, and if somebody goes downtown for the Sculpture Walk, maybe they go to the Mudhouse or maybe they go to Black Sheep or Flame. They're spending money in Springfield that they may not have otherwise.

417: Has the perception of public art changed over the years?
D.M.: I think a lot of the perception has changed over the years. It's not just seen as a nuisance of a tag on the side of somebody’s building that they have to go clean up or paint over. Now, there are some people that still do graffiti and their tags are incredibly elaborate and beautiful to look at in some people's eyes. Some people do still look at it as vandalism. If I had a building and somebody spray painted on it, I would probably not be very happy, but what we're doing is bringing street art to people in a way that’s thought out and we’re getting building owners, property owners and business owners involved through sponsorships. There is a benefit to having public art on your building, as long as it's sanctioned.

417: How can people get involved right now?
D.M.: The volunteer opportunities for us are going to be when we have artists in town actually doing work. I would direct people to our website or to social media. When there are [volunteer] opportunities, I’ll definitely put it out on social media.

Find out more about Chroma 417, including artists and volunteer opportunities, take a look at the website and follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

SGF Cardinals mural
Photos courtesy Chroma 417, Daniel MalachowskiThe colorful Cardinals logo captures some 417-land spirit.
SGF Cardinals mural landscape
Photos courtesy Chroma 417, Daniel MalachowskiThe mural stretches across different surfaces of Hammons Field.
Daniel Malachowski
Photos courtesy Chroma 417, Daniel MalachowskiDaniel Malachowski is the founder of Chroma 417