Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow By Molly Crusen Bishop

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Nikki and Jonathon Romain (center) pictured with sons’ Jayland (left) and Jonathon II (right)

Nikki and Jonathon Romain are local artists and founders of the nonprofit Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow. It is located at the historic old Greeley School on the north end of Peoria, 919 NE Jefferson. The couple recently won a State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grant in the amount of $25,000. Jonathon is a commissioned artist for State Farm. Some friends at the company mentioned the competition for the neighborhood grant to the couple and they ran with it like wildfire. Nikki quickly wrote up the grant application for the August midnight deadline and soon after they were among 200 nationwide applicants chosen by State Farm.

Between both of their efforts on social media, local news, billboards, texts and emails, they shared and encouraged the votes needed online to become one of the top 40 organizations to win the $25,000 grant. People from all walks of life from Peoria voted the couples beautiful nonprofit Artists ReEnvisioning Tomorrow into the top and brought it home!

Nikki and Jonathon are both creative artists that come from the Chicago and Aurora area of Illinois. Nikki met Jonathon at one of his art exhibits and discovered they had mutual independent desires to form a community arts center. Through their tenacious energy and a mission to inspire and empower the community through the arts, they bought a school and are starting renovations. The arts center will offer all forms of art including music, dance, STEAM, theater, and much more. The programs are for everyone in the community with a special focus on after school programs for our youth. Nikki is a warm and amazing mom and is bringing her talent of dance, theater, music and more to the table. Jonathon brings his gift as an artist, photographer and speaker to the mix. The two remain humble despite their talents, huge success, and efforts to help make Peoria a shining beacon for all. They both claim that without the efforts of all the community they would not have been able to bring their vision to life nor win the grant.

On September 25, 2018, a press conference was held to thank the Greater Peoria Area for coming together in support of the efforts to obtain the grant. Several prominent speakers from the Greater Peoria Area were in attendance including Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, City of Peoria Councilwoman Denise Moore, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Griffin, Peoria Public Schools Superintendent, Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, and State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth.

The $25,000 grant will help with the capital expenditures needed in order to get the building up to code. It will take continuous effort from the community to help bring in funds to meet their goal of opening in the Summer of 2019.