Hispanic Immigration to Arcola by Francisco Vargas
The initial wave of Hispanic immigration into Arcola is rooted in the opportunities for employment with broom manufacturing. In 1969, 7 men were recruited from Cadareyta, Mexico to come Arcola to work in the broom factories. The men shared a simple apartment overlooking Main Street and were joined later by their families in the early 1970s. This lead to a steady migration into the community as others came to Arcola to seek opportunities for their families. While the employers have diversified, many are still employed in an expanded household product industry as manufacturing expanded from simple corn brooms to the manufacturing of mops, brushes and other cleaning items. Many of the original families still have strong ties to the Arcola community, having been a part of the community’s fabric for multiple generations. In the 2010 Census, Hispanics accounted for nearly 40% of Arcola’s population and account for nearly 50% of the student population in the Arcola School District.
The mural was designed by FranCisco Vargas and painted by a team of artists under his direction including local Arcola painter, now Walldog, Annette Ferguson. Francisco was a natural selection to develop the mural. The son of migrant workers, the Fresno, CA artist has been a project leader at several Walldog events throughout the Midwest. Drawing inspiration from his California-Latino heritage, Cisco tried to blend vivid colors with classical folk art imagery in his creation honoring the artwork of Jesus Helguera, a legendary Mexican painter.