Author: Christy Windhausen
Date: February 10, 2014
Categories: Alumni|Art

In June 2013 Jennifer Bock-Nelson ‘02, was awarded the 2014 Quincy, Illinois, Design Committee Award for her design and work on a mural titled Focus that is painted on the side of a building in Quincy, Ill.

“We were just so pleased when she did this,” Nancy Dolan, the director of Quincy Public Library states about Nelson’s murals. “When you look up close, it just looks like small bits, it looks so simple. But when you stand back it looks so realistic and beautiful.”

The project took Nelson 229 hours over the course of 31 days to complete. She hired three college graduates to help her:  Jacqueline Kaufman Wood, Amber Nicole Smith and Lana Rabe.

 The Quincy, Illinois Design Committee wanted to increase the amount of public art in the downtown area of Quincy and therefore fund-raised $15,000 for materials and labor, and coordinated the installation. The committee chose Nelson based on previous murals she had completed for the public library.

 The mural chosen is titled Focus and is part of Nelson’s Drive series. Nelson says that she is “interested in perception and the ways in which we process sensory stimuli.” She illustrates this concept by portraying recognizable objects paired with the natural landscape, creating an environment that is warped by motion.

 “I had no art experience prior to enrolling at Houghton College, as I intended to major in pre-med,” states Nelson. “I am grateful for the formal skills I learned during my four years and for the close-knit community of art students and faculty at Houghton College.”

 Nelson graduated from Houghton in 2002 with a Bachelor of Art degree. She went on to receive her Master of Fine Art degree from Northern Illinois University.

 The award-winning mural was dedicated to Pat Surface, the founder of the Midsummer Arts Faire in Quincy, Illinois.

 For more images of the Quincy mural, please visit