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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Art Talk – By the book


Brand Bobosky recently announced his retirement from the Century Walk Corporation (CWC), the organization he founded in 1996 that has since enlivened Naperville’s built environment and invigorated public spaces through its public art collection. Starting with a blank canvas, CWC worked with businesses, building owners, local government, and highly skilled artists to bring murals, sculptures, mosaics, and interactive art to more than 50 locations throughout the city. Each carefully curated piece of work in this “open-air art museum” tells a story of the people, places, and events that have made Naperville what it is today.

Before his planned exit, Brand commissioned Ella Kraimer to produce the Naperville Century Walk Public Art Guide, a chronological directory of public art installations in the community. Starting with “Naperville’s Own,” a bas relief on the northeast corner of Washington Street and Jefferson Avenue that pays homage to Naperville Municipal Band’s 165-year legacy, it concludes with the “Gold Star Family Memorial,” a monument at Veteran’s Park that honors the families of those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty for our freedom.

Captivating images, hand-drawn illustrations, and descriptive passages fill the guide’s 88 pages. QR codes provide ancillary information in both written and audio formats, adding depth to the concepts and artists that brought the art to life. A color-coded map inserted at the end highlights all the pieces’ locations and the date they were completed.

The book, sponsored by Water Street Downtown Naperville, Ryan Hill Group (Century 21 Circle), and Marquette Properties, celebrates “the vibrant art and lifestyle of the Naperville community” and can be found at Naperville businesses including Hotel Indigo, 120 South Water Street; Naper Settlement, 523 South Webster; Naperville City Hall, 420 South Eagle Street; and the Downtown Naperville Alliance, 55 South Main Street, Suite. 355.

The recently published colorful guide welcomes folks to explore Naperville’s rich history at more than 50 locations of Century Walk public art. Consider lunch or dinner and a Century Walk tour. (PN Photo)

A digital guide is also available on CWC’s website.

Thanks to the generous sponsorships, anyone wishing to procure the guide can disregard the $5.00 price tag and pick it up at no cost.

“The guide is free because the art is free,” a CWC spokesperson stated. “The pieces are on display 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, accessible for all to see and enjoy.”

While questions about the future of CWC remain, we can be grateful for the creative way it illuminates our surroundings, marks our history, and tells our stories. Residents and visitors can explore, with book in hand, and discover the art that gives the city a sense of identity, fosters understanding between cultures, drives tourism, and adds texture to the fabric at Naperville’s core.

Find more Naperville Century Walk info at centurywalk-artguide.org.

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Debbie Venezia
Debbie Veneziahttp://www.artsdupage.org
Debbie Venezia is the Director of Arts DuPage, a DuPage Foundation initiative. Contact her at debbie@dupagefoundation.org or visit www.artsdupage.org.


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