When Naperville Art League (NAL) Board President Beata Nowak received a call in late 2020, she had no idea it would mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The caller, Pranav Amin, was about to open Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea in the newly developed Central Park Place building, near the former home of the Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. While the ink was still wet on the rental agreement, the nascent franchise owner started cultivating deep ties within the community.
“Sweetwaters is known for forging lasting and meaningful relationships with local artists, nonprofits, schools, and neighboring businesses,” the Plainfield resident said. “We make it our mission to get to know our neighbors and engage with our guests. Strong connections are how we share the love!”
To carry this out, Amin offered local artists a platform to exhibit their work. And NAL was the conduit that could connect him to the more than 200 talented individuals eager to show their art. Nowak, who runs the League’s Art Around Town program, quickly coordinated a display and hung the inaugural show as Sweetwaters welcomed its first customers.
The artwork not only adds ambiance to the cafe’s interior, but also attracts the attention of the patrons.
“Here in Naperville, we provide a space for artists to share their stories. We curate events for the rotating exhibits so our guests can converse with artists and learn their passion,” said Amin.
Nowak noted, “Customers really enjoy the art and take their time studying each piece. Some have said they appreciate the creative flair and specifically stop in to see the new displays.” She continues, “Sweetwaters brings awareness to art and NAL. The members love showing there because of the loft feel, large walls, and great lighting. The foot traffic is amazing; people frequently purchase pieces right off the walls!”
Artist Marilyn Dale, former NAL Board president, returned to the organization after a 12-year hiatus. Grandkids and full-time work usurped most of her time, but she recommitted to her art upon retirement earlier this year.
“I am thrilled that NAL has stepped up in finding exhibit opportunities for members,” Dale said. “Their Art Around Town program offers exposure for NAL and its member artists while offering the businesses the opportunity to have free art and an ever-changing atmosphere, as well as demonstrate their support of the local community.”
While regulars embrace Sweetwaters’ globally-influenced signature beverages, light fare, and friendly environment, Amin cites a contributing factor to its success. “The artwork definitely adds liveliness to a cafe and that is what our guests appreciate. They love to spend time with their family and friends while relaxing and enjoying coffee.”
Currently on display through August 28: A Pop of Warhol. An Artists’ Reception is set for 6 to 9PM Fri., Aug. 4.
Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea is located at 110 S. Washington Street, #112.