Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Homegrown Artist to Paint Mural in Downtown Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.Chicago-based artist Eric Lee, son of Cindy and Bill Lee of Bloomington, will revisit his old stomping grounds to paint an outdoor mural for his hometown. A 1998 graduate of Normal Community High School, Eric found his passion for art while attending Millikin University, earning a BFA in 2002.

Lee works primarily with spray paint and acrylics. Galleries have featured him in Chicago and Paris, France but his mural work can be found worldwide in the cities of Chicago, Amsterdam, Osaka, Nagoya, London, Bristol, and Barcelona.

Lee, who goes by ‘E.LEE’ in the art world, has been hoping for an opportunity to paint a mural in Bloomington-Normal. He was contacted by owner/developer Lacey and Kyle Glandon of Workbench Collaborative about a potential mural and their downtown renovation project and was quick to take them up on it. “It’s a privilege to be able to do a piece where I grew up,” Eric says. “I have a lot of friends and family here. I couldn’t think of a better way to give back to the community.”

Located at the corner of Front and Prairie Streets in Downtown Bloomington, the building was originally known as Williams Horse Hospital upon construction in 1883. Acquired in May 2016, Glandon was unsure where the acquisition would take them. “We’re pleased with how the project has evolved into a unique bar (8 Bit II), apartments and an Airbnb short-term rental,” said K. Glandon. “Adding this particular mural by Eric, an exceptional artist who happens to be a Normal native, is a fun way to punctuate the project while reflecting on its history.”

The project, funded through a grant from the Community Fund for Public Art at the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, will begin on Friday, October 20, and is planned for completion by the end of the weekend. Those interested are welcome to stop by to say hello and see E.LEE in action. “The whole point of my work is to connect with people, Lee says. “I’m usually locked away working alone in my studio. To be able to see how people respond during the process is a lot of fun, and one of the reasons I love painting on the street.”

To learn more about Eric Lee and his work, visit