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City of Washington to Celebrate Small Businesses and New Downtown Mural

October 19, 2022

For more information, contact:

Staci Hupp Ballard
Iowa Economic Development Authority

City of Washington to Celebrate Small Businesses and New Downtown Mural
Event to Recognize #IowansUnite Video Contest Winner

October 19, 2022 (WASHINGTON, IA) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) today announced that the Washington Chamber of Commerce recently won a custom mural by Iowa artist Ben Schuh by taking first place in the statewide #IowansUnite contest, an initiative that highlights community pride and support of small businesses.

The new mural, small businesses and the community leaders that led the effort will be celebrated at a public event on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the mural's location at 101 Washington Street in Washington. The public is encouraged to attend to visit with the muralist and community leaders and then enjoy local shopping and dining.

"The story of small businesses and their vast intangible impacts on communities can only truly be told by their residents," said IEDA and IFA Executive Director Debi Durham. "I congratulate Washington for doing just that and it is my hope that all who pass by the mural will recognize the immense appreciation that exists for the small businesses who are a pillar of this thriving community."

Washington resident Isabella Santoro said: "When I first learned about the mural contest, I immediately thought that my town deserves to win this!"

Santoro led the community’s video submission efforts with the assistance of her uncle, Randy Williams, who volunteered to produce the video. After the community's video received enough votes to qualify for the final round of judging, Santoro let her passion and authenticity pour into an essay which was selected as the community's submission and ultimately won the statewide contest. "Our businesses and residents support each other in a way I have never experienced anywhere else in the world," Santoro wrote.

"Our community spirit showed up in a unique and creative way thanks to Isabella's leadership and the support of our local businesses and volunteers," said Michelle Redlinger, Executive Director of the Washington Chamber of Commerce. "We’re thrilled to celebrate the addition of the mural to our community thanks to the partnership of IEDA, IFA and artist Ben Schuh."

Visit for more information on the event.

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