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updated: 5/28/2011 7:19 PM

You can be part of a Century Walk mural — for $1,000

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  • The late Jim Wehrli is one of the first Naperville residents to be painted into "Naperville Loves a Parade" by muralist Adela Vystejnova in downtown Naperville.

       The late Jim Wehrli is one of the first Naperville residents to be painted into "Naperville Loves a Parade" by muralist Adela Vystejnova in downtown Naperville.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

Napervillians can go straight from watching one parade Monday to being part of another.

Immediately following Naperville's Memorial Day Parade, Century Walk organizers will dedicate their latest outdoor public art piece, "Parade of the Century," and launch the sponsorship drive for the next project, "Naperville Loves a Parade" in "Rubin's Way" -- the alleyway between the GAP and Talbot's on the west side of Main Street.

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Muralist Adela Vystejnova Gardner has finished "Parade of the Century," a four-color silhouette mural with scenes from early 1900 parades that continue to progress through time until the present.

"We dedicate all of our pieces to the public much the same way a captain will christen a new cruise ship," said Century Walk Corp. President Brand Bobosky. "We waited until now to dedicate the first piece of this project because Adela worked on it all winter and now we can dedicate it while also showing the work that has begun on the second piece."

Work began earlier this spring on "Naperville Loves a Parade," a full-color mural that Century Walk officials hope will feature as many as 225 people watching the "Parade of the Century" as it marches west. Each mural has a life span of at least 20 years.

The Century Walk Corp. is banking on Gardner and her talents for nailing detailed expressions because it intends to use the second piece to generate revenue to fund the project.

Bobosky said he thinks as many as 225 people will be willing to pay as much as $1,000 each or $3,000 for a family or group of four, to be part of the mural and have their likenesses painted as parade spectators. Sponsorships ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 also are being sought from business owners who would like to see their company likeness included in the background of the mural.

Bobosky said he realizes not everyone has bounced back from the recession but he's counting on at least 225 Napervillians of the city's 145,000 to be willing to pay to be a part of the city's future.

"We believe there's value there. We can't put 145,000 people on a mural and we don't want to," Bobosky said. "We realize this is not for everybody but very few things are."

Bobosky said the corporation needs to make a profit on this project to continue placing public art throughout the city.

"We could charge less and just be a conduit from the residents to the artists and not have a penny in the bank, but that's not how we want to operate," he said. "Our future depends on the corporation making some money on this project."

Century Walk was created more than a decade ago to create public outdoor art to celebrate Naperville's history and heritage. Information is at centurywalk.org.

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