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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

BEE-lieve it or not… Downtown Naperville is abuzz for summer


From a dragon fly in 2023 (above) to a caterpillar in 2024, local artist Adela Vystejnova has been featured among local artists in the showcase of painted sculptures for downtown Naperville. Note: Kindly read “Caution!” instructions when viewing the artwork. Also note on PN social media, only past photos were featured in hopes to bring back a few memories that inspire visits this summer.

With fond memories of outdoor summer sculptures since 2001, early this June, the downtown streetscape again became dotted with painted sculptures by local artists. This year’s collection presents oversized honeybees, caterpillars, ladybugs and snails depicting a wide variety of themes and community spirit.

The promotion features “people are all abuzz” to describe the enthusiasm that likely will follow 18 works of art along the downtown streetscape from now through September.

Just what does “abuzz” really mean? According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the word means full and alive with activity, talk, etc., dating back to the 1850s. A little more online research via the Oxford English Dictionary revealed that novelist Charles Dickens adopted the word as an adjective to describe an environment that is “alive with noise and activity” and first used it in A Tale of Two Cities in 1859, the same year the Naperville Municipal Band, then called the “Naperville Brass Band,” arrived on the Naperville scene.

Honeybees & Ladybugs Buzz / Caterpillars & Snails Click

Moving right along and more than likely, “abuzz” came to life to highlight the buzzing sounds that come from the flight of the busy honeybee and ladybug and not so much from slow creeping caterpillars and snails, known for their clicking sounds.

Caterpillars breathe through holes on the sides of their bodies, called spiracles, and sometimes they create a squeaking or clicking noise. While these inaudible noises to humans may surprise predators and scare them away, the caterpillar sculptures on exhibit have not been equipped with sounds.

Then there are snails. Their breathing action causes the radula (structure of tiny teeth) to vibrate, creating the whistling or clicking noise that is characteristic of snails. No buzz there.

Simply put, it’s all that wing-flapping at the rapid rate of 85 times a second that distinguishes the ladybug buzz. And bee-lieve it or not, the larger honeybee flaps its wings 230 times every second. But who can count that fast?

As you likely know, that rapid wing-beating noise isn’t exclusive to ladybugs and honeybees—many other insects make such buzzing noises while flying, too.

At any rate, come catch the excitement with insects and snails throughout downtown. While no sculpture is in the shape of a cicada, check out the caterpillar painted by Pinot’s Palette to see how their artists incorporated cicadas in its summertime scene.  Find “Caterpillar Dreams” along Jackson Avenue.

What’s appreciated with all the buzz?

The Downtown Naperville Alliance is grateful to its 2024 Summer Painted Sculpture Sponsors, with a special thanks to Gerald Auto Group and the City of Naperville for their partnership with the project.

The 2024 sponsors all abuzz are Bill & Nancy Mitchell; Busey Bank; Caton Commercial Real Estate Group; Coldwell Banker Realty – Gail Niermeyer & Jesse McHugh; DJK Custom Homes; DuPage Swim Center; Expert Level Home Services; Innovative Dental Partners; Kelly Law Firm; Little Luxuries; Magnitech; Naper Nuts & Sweets; Naperville Yard; Pinot’s Palette; Potter’s Place; Treasures; Turning Pointe Autism Foundation; and Two Maids of Naperville.

Let there be music here, there and everywhere!

On June 3, PN visited downtown Naperville shortly after the sculptures had been placed along Van Buren Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Jackson Avenue and Water Street. The snail sculpture at Main and Van Buren provided a timely connection to the Summer Concert Series in Central Park, another event that attracts families to the heart of the City.

From both sides now, the Kelly Law Firm snail symbolizes music, music, music along Main Street at Van Buren Ave. Perhaps you’ll hear the snail softly click! (PN Photo)

This year, the Naperville Municipal Band Summer Concert Series in Central Park is set for 7:30PM Thursdays from June 6 through August 15. Concerts are free of admission charge. Everybody’s welcome. Note two exceptions: The Kids Concert will begin at 7PM Thurs., June 13. And the Patriotic Concert, featuring the 1812 Overture with Civil War reenactors and cannons, will begin at 7:30PM Wed., July 3.

Think art, dinner and live music! Perhaps come downtown early to tour the colorful exhibit of caterpillars, honeybees, ladybugs and snails where a permanent display of public art via Century Walk is on display, too. Enjoy dinner at one of downtown Naperville’s many restaurants. Then mosey over to Central Park to see the big stage door graced with “The Great Concerto” mural go up on the Naperville Community Concert Center where another tradition begins again.

Of course, every day is a time to discover lots new among the historic landscape in downtown Naperville now dotted with colorfully painted art sculptures. And did you know? Gotskind’s is celebrating 90 years in business, 40 of which have been right there at 115 W. Jefferson Avenue in downtown Naperville.

Also Note! / Downtown Naperville Car Show is June 15

Remember when “cars” captured the spirit in the downtown Naperville summer sculpture exhibit back in 2015?

Gear up for Father’s Day Weekend with a tour the Downtown Naperville Car Show along Jackson Avenue from 9AM to Noon Sat., June 15. Discover the differences in 100 vintage vehicles in all makes and models! Attractive classic cars and tractors will be on display on Jackson Avenue, along the Riverwalk, between Eagle and Main Streets. This special family event, already filled with entries, is weather permitting.

Thanks for reading! —PN


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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.