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BCAI Brings Arts and Music to Franklin Park in Bloomington | Local education

Nada Machaka, from Beirut, Lebanon, tries her hand at spray painting on Saturday in Franklin Park during the “Rhythm and Spray Paint” event. Her husband, Meheddene Machaka, said they made an unscheduled stop at the park on their way to Peoria after visiting their daughter, who is studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Brendan Denison

BLOOMINGTON – Franklin Park in Bloomington was feeling the beat on Saturday afternoon for a “Rhythm and Spray Paint” event.

Several community organizations gathered at the free event to chat with people about their mission and offer activities like yoga and the art of spray painting, and to showcase Latinx music and culture.

The Step Inn Performance team showed off their dance moves and local artist EJ Allen performed original rap tunes.


The Step Inn Performance dance team goes wild on Saturday at the “Rhythm and Spray Paint” event in Franklin Park.

Brendan Denison

The event was hosted by Breaking Chains & Advancing Increase, a Bloomington art school that provides a “safe space to express, explore and create.”

“Sometimes that’s what social justice looks like,” said BCAI Executive Director Angelique Racki.

“If you look around you can identify a minimum of 15 different cultures represented at any given time,” she said at the event.

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Racki said the big impact of Rhythm and Spray Paint was seeing all the different organizations come together, adding that “there is literally only love and peace right now.”

“Right now, there is creation going on,” she continued. “It is the most powerful source in the universe: creation.

“Imagination, creation and connection, and that’s what is happening.”


Carla Campbell-Jackson, center, compliments Sol Almaraz, 4, and Tiahna Abbott, 7, for their artwork Saturday at the “Rhythm and Spray Paint” event at Franklin Park in Bloomington.

Brendan Denison

BCAI partnered with the Afro-Socialists and Socialists of Color Caucus for the event and invited several other organizations including the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Really Really Free Market, Conexiones Latinas of McLean County and Bloomington Normal Black Lives Matter.

The Bloomington-Normal Chapter of the NAACP also took part in the event. Their Senior Vice President, Carla Campbell-Jackson, said it was gratifying to see the community come together “with such vibrant leaders and residents, so that we can empower our youth and celebrate when the going is good.”


Logan Norsworthy of Heyworth paints spray paints on Saturday in Franklin Park for the “Rhythm and Spray Paint” event hosted by the Breaking Chains & Advancing Augmenter art school.

Brendan Denison

She said the media tended to “pounce” when something went in the wrong direction, so when things are going well and impacting children, “it has to be celebrated.”

“It’s important for the kids, and it’s important for our community,” said Campbell-Jackson. “And research has shown that the arts obviously play an important role in the development of young people.”

Heyworth artist Logan Norsworthy was there to make art and show kids how to spray paint, explaining the different types of “plugs” or nozzles they can use.

“They clearly have a desire to do something,” he said. “Besides, helping them do that was cool.”

Robert Bosquez, board member of the West Bloomington Revitalization Project and director of the Bed Blitz program, talks about the importance for children of having their own bed. The 2021 Bed Blitz took place on Saturday October 9 at Youthbuild of McLean County, Crossroads Center, Normal. Ninety beds were built by 175 volunteers. In addition to a bed frame, families received a new mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket or quilt, and books.

Contact Brendan Denison at (309) 820-3238. Follow Brendan Denison on Twitter: @BrendanDenison