American International College to Host Mural Honoring Mason Square Resident
SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will honor a Springfield individual known to residents in Mason Square as Preacherman with a mural on the college’s maintenance building located at the corner of State and Reed streets. Born Randolph Lester, he was a well-known community member who was given the Preacherman moniker as he was often seen walking around the Mason Square area carrying a Bible.
Collaborating on the construction of the mural is Britt Ruhe, the founder of Fresh Paint Springfield, a creative initiative in 2019 that invited artists to paint building walls downtown. Ruhe is the director of Commonwealth Murals and manages the Community Muralist Institute, featuring individual mural installations that meaningfully engage and uplift communities.
AIC alumnus Andrew Cade, president of the Springfield Cultural Council and senior vice president of the Urban League of Springfield, supported the project with a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council and other resources to assist with the mural.
“The artist selected to paint the mural of Preacherman is Greta McLain,” Cade said. “She has extensive mural-making experience, exploring the ways that art can bring communities together, the power of visual language to activate voice, and the potential of art as a vehicle for hands-on organizing and educating. The mural will provide vibrancy to the neighborhood and tell the story of one of Springfield’s most iconic citizens.”
McLain created the “Home, Here” mural on the Chestnut Towers parking garage on Dwight Street.
“As an institution of higher education, AIC is pleased to partner with the Springfield Cultural Council and host the mural,” AIC President Vince Maniaci said. “The values of access, opportunity, and diversity that are central to the college align well with the Cultural Council, Commonwealth Murals, and the artist’s vision for this endeavor.”
Mural installation is expected to be completed by Saturday, Oct. 24.