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Illinois REALTORS® Help to Bring Immersive Art to Chicago Communities

By Tanya Svoboda
June 2021

What do street art, play-based education, and real estate in Chicago have in common? The answer is Thad and Emily Wong of @properties. The firm’s co-founder Thad Wong and his wife donated $900,000 to the Chicago Children’s Museum to create an immersive art experience in collaboration with Chicago pop artist Hebru Brantley.

Brantley takes inspiration from comic books and infuses it with black American history in a style he defines as “Afro-futurist.” The Wongs’ generous donation will further Brantley’s vision while providing support for future programming at the museum.

Chicago Children’s Museum President and CEO, Jennifer Farrington, said in a press release: “Their transformational gift will provide children the opportunity to develop their own creativity and self-expression through artistic exploration.”

Supporting museums and the value they bring to the surrounding communities is nothing new for REALTORS® in Illinois. Since the state’s bicentennial celebration in 2018, an assemblage of initiatives to further the goals of museums across the state have been established.

Illinois REALTORS® Have a History of Helping

From funding free admission days to fundraising to restore and convert old buildings into museums, REALTORS® across the Land of Lincoln have been working hard to bolster the presence of museums in their communities for quite some time.

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® and the Quincy Association of REALTORS® both provided local museums (Orpheum Children’s Science Museum and Quincy Museum respectively) with the necessary funding to offer free admission days for residents.

“Since real estate is a local, community-based asset, we feel [free admission days are] a great way to instill in the next generation an appreciation of where they live and how they can contribute to the tapestry of Quincy, Illinois,” said Association Vice President Glenn Swick.

In 2019, the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) helped the Grundy County Historical Society and Museum in Morris to expand an interactive coal mining exhibit. The exhibit underscores the importance of the coal mining industry in the growth of Grundy and Will counties.

And in Alton, the Greater Gateway Association of REALTORS® provided the Haskell House Children’s Museum with $1,000 of seed money to help the museum with its many ongoing projects. The support provided by the Greater Gateway Association of REALTORS® will “make available a valuable resource for the area and be consistent with Florence Haskell’s request that the property be used for education and recreation.”

Throughout Illinois, REALTORS® are working with heart in their neighborhoods by preserving historic properties and funding initiatives that instill an appreciation of community in residents young and old.


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