The city of Pontiac, Ill., will be dedicating the Red Carpet Corridor Festival in May to the memory of prominent Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire. Festivities will include the public being invited to help paint a mural that Waldmire designed before his death from abdominal cancer in December 2009.
According to the news release from Pontiac Tourism:
Bob’s prolonged passion for Route 66 began in 1962 when his parents took the entire family on a motoring trip to California via Route 66. During that trip, Bob fell in love with the Mother Road and all that it offered. Bob then spent the rest of his life traveling along Route 66 in either his school bus mobile home or his 1972 Volkswagen Van. Both the van and the school bus are currently on display in Pontiac at the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum. The Waldmire school bus home will be opened to the public for the first time during the Red Carpet Festival.
Bob supported his nomadic and eclectic lifestyle by painting and drawing for clients along the Mother Road. His art works are famous world-wide and Pontiac is proud to already have one of Bob’s Route 66 roadmaps painted inside the Route 66 Museum. During the Festival, Bob’s last commissioned mural project will be painted. Bob was asked to design and paint a mural for downtown Pontiac, but his illness prevented him from completing that task. Instead, he designed the mural and the public will be invited to come downtown during the festival to help paint Bob’s 66 foot map of the entire Route 66. The Diaz family, owners of Diaz Sign Art, will oversee the project.
The mural will be on Main Street in Pontiac, just south of Howard on the Encore Shop building. Attached is a thumbnail of the Waldmire design; click on it for a closer look.
UPDATE 2/8/2011: According to a story by the Pontiac Daily Leader, the mural also will include Waldmire’s likeness. An image of the proposed mural can be found here.