A community-based effort produces a sustainable monument to the history of a small county in Illinois.

In Northwestern Illinois, Chicago-based artist Philip Hartigan and writer Patricia Ann McNair worked with the Carroll County Historical Society on an art project that will serve as a memoir of the community of Carroll County. The resulting work is a series of luminaries: large boxes made of elm sourced from a local sustainable farm, that contain photos and written memoirs from the residents printed on the side panels. The boxes are lit from within at night using solar lights, thereby doubling as a kind of streetlamp. These luminaries not only serve as bright windows into the community’s past (and future), but as a testament to sustainable development and green energy they act as examples of how to help our communities last.

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