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Mobile website, more art at Century Walk
June 3, 2012 — Source: Naperville Sun — Author: Tim West


If you hang around Naperville’s downtown for a few more years, it is going to be difficult to find a wall, patch of ground, or alley that is not adorned with a Century Walk mosaic, sculpture or mural.

Since 1996, public art primarily dedicated to Naperville’s history has been placed all over mostly the downtown but in a few other places as well at the rate of two to four pieces a year. The artwork is paid for by a combination of private donations and annual contributions from the city of Naperville’s SECA fund (which comes from the restaurant tax).

Most of the 40 pieces that now constitute the display are art placed expressly for Century Walk, but a few of the pieces were existing artworks that have been incorporated into Century Walk.

The initial brainchild of Naperville attorney Brand Bobosky, Century Walk depicts a virtual history of Naperville, with the occasional whimsical Dr. Seuss figure thrown in with the pretty thin rationale that the Cat in the Hat and other Seuss characters have been important cultural figures, especially to children.

The Century Walk statue of Dick Tracy has a Naperville connection because Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Dick Locher, who picked up drawing the cartoon strip detective when Chester Gould retired, is a longtime Naperville resident.

At a reception and preview held Wednesday and sponsored by the Hotel Arista, plans for 2012-2013 were laid out by Bobosky and some of the artists.

Another Dr. Seuss sculpture, “The Grinch,” will be put at the Naper Boulevard Library and be built by Bill Dreyer and Greg Sagen.

The “Kids/Matter Way Finding Murals,” currently under construction by students from all five of Naperville’s high schools under the supervision of Tim Etters, who has done a couple of Century Walk murals, continues this year.

And the “Naperville Loves a Parade” mural which adorns both sides of the downtown Main Street alley now to be known as “Rubin’s Way” will be continued and may be finished this year by artists Dodie Mondero, Marianne Lisson Kuhn and Adela Vystejnova.

The completed side of the alley shows a parade going from 1900 through the end of the 20th century.

The uncompleted part, on the other side, shows Naperville residents watching the parade with Naperville businesses depicted behind them. If you would like yourself, your family, a past relative, or your business shown, the mural is being paid for by folks who are paying to avail themselves of this opportunity. Go to www.centurywalk.org for more information.

And also new is a mobile website. For those of you who have smart phones or other devices with Internet access, there is a neat way for you to wander the downtown, look at the artwork, and hear descriptions of it via your phone.

As you wander, go to m.centurywalk.org for a description of each piece of art as you come to it.

I only have a dumb phone and my home computer is only portable if I hire a couple of movers to carry it so I will probably tote around Jini Clare’s wonderful book “Century Walk: Art Imitating History” while I view the pieces, but those of you who are more technologically advanced can opt for an oral description of the artwork. Incidentally, Jini’s book is available for purchase at www.centurywalk.org under the tab for Shop.

As Bobosky pointed out last week, if you went to an art museum you’d pay for a headset to hear the art described, while with Century Walk you can use your iPhone or other device to get a free Naperville history less while you walk.

It’s too good a deal to pass up unless, like me, you’re only one technology removed from two cans and a string.

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