Naperville Students Painting Murals at Parking Garage
August 18, 2010 — Source: Daily Herald — Author: Justin Kmitch
Until her father, Bruce, passed away last fall, Jeanette Kuchler treasured the Saturdays they would spend together at the Naperville Farmers Market and the peaches and corn they would bring home.
The Naperville Central High School junior has captured those memories to share with the entire city through her centerpiece in the mural being painted in the fifth floor elevator waiting area of the downtown Van Buren parking garage.
Still about a week away from being complete, Jeanette said she hopes her piece will remind folks to take time out of their lives to enjoy the simple things with their loved ones.
"We would walk together and he loved to bring home the fresh peaches," she said Wednesday afternoon. "I'm just trying to capture those memories to share with everyone who will enjoy this project."
KidsMatter, a nonprofit organization charged with empowering youth and families with tools to effectively manage the stresses of everyday life, was awarded a $5,000 grant from Naperville's Century Walk Corp. last year to work with artist Timm Etters to create a Naperville-themed Way Finding System and murals to enliven the Van Buren garage.
Since 1993, Etters, has painted 59 murals in and around Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 schools.
"These kids have all grown up with my murals in their schools and now we get to work together to make this happen," Etters said in the fifth floor west elevator waiting center. "It's really awesome."
Because students are only allowed to work on the mural outside of school as an independent study class, the fifth floor will be completed by the end of August. The lower floors will be done two at a time during the following two summers by students at the Naperville area's four other high schools.
The design theme for each of the five parking levels will be based on the colors and mascots of one of the five public high schools - North, Central, Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley. Each group of students will develop a theme around their choice of several developmental assets, or qualities that influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults.
The Central students chose to paint their favorite constructive use of their time.
Senior Nicole Pellegrini pays homage to forest preserves with her piece, saying they are aspects of her community she feels connected to. Immediately next to her, senior Wendy Wei is painting a highly detailed downtown scene with her family in the forefront enjoying ice cream.
"This is how I'll continue to enjoy my time with family before heading away to college," she said. "There's a lot of great ice cream (shops) in Naperville and I've made constructive use of my time finding them."
Other scenes depicted in the mural include a portrait of the Millennium Carillon Tower, a Redhawks baseball game and the Redhawk mascot flying high in the sky, which is being painted by Etters and his assistant Caitlyn White.
"I'm very proud of these kids showing up every day and what they've accomplished, often working in 104-degree (heat) last week," Etters said. "Their pieces are so great that for the first time my piece will merely be an accent to someone else's work. And that's very cool."
All five floors are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer of 2012 and will be added to the city's collection of Century Walk outdoor public art pieces.
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