Naperville Century Walk Marks Quarter Century of Public Art

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After 25 years, more than 50 art locations, and millions in public and private funding, founder Brand Bobosky is celebrating a quarter century of the Naperville Century Walk.

“I’m very pleased, excited that we lasted this long and I think we made a good cultural contribution to the community, telling the stories that we do and there’s so many stories there,” he said.

Telling Naperville’s Stories

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The “Laughing Lincoln” sculpture in Central Park.

Each Century Walk addition explores a different aspect of Naperville’s history. Those stories started with ‘Naperville’s Own,’ a 1996 tribute to the Naperville Municipal Band that kicked off the Century Walk journey.

A more recent addition, the ‘Laughing Lincoln’ sculpture in Central Park ties the city to a national figure by commemorating when Lincoln voted alongside Joe Naper to create DuPage County.

‘A City in Transit’ is a 23-year-old mural painted on the side of The Lantern and depicts how transportation has evolved across Naperville’s history.

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“A City in Transit” at the corner of Washington and Chicago. Photo courtesy of Naperville Century Walk

And with 48 other locations, there’s plenty of local stories to explore.

“So that’s what we’re doing. We’re reminding people that they used to wash cars in the river. That there was Ma’s bar, which was the oldest bar in DuPage County, and all these little things that people can pick up on and say ‘that’s important.’ As things evolve, we can continue to tell the stories that are happening now,” said Bobosky.

Room to Grow

With more than $4 million of public and private funds invested in the Century Walk, Naperville’s public art scene is already robust. But Bobosky said he still sees more room to grow.

“In some respects it’s really just the beginning because we have a number of parks, we have a number of schools, we have a number of private properties, builders, developers that all could serve as a place for public art in the years to come,” he said.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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