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Article posted: 4/20/2012 4:48 PM

Naperville's Century Walk adds audio tour, mobile website

By Justin Kmitch

Don't know who is depicted on Naperville's "Officer Friendly" statue? There's an app for that.

Curious what nostalgic drive-in is featured in the "City in Transit" mural at Chicago and Washington? There's an app for that, too.

Naperville's Century Walk just became a little more interactive with the additions of a mobile version of its website and an audio tour of each of the 40 public art pieces throughout the city.

Smartphone users can now hear brief audio descriptions about each of the pieces by scanning the Quick Response code featured on the website or on Century Walk brochures. The code leads to the mobile site and once there, the viewer can select the piece they would like to learn more about. The brief narrations were written and performed in a local studio last month by Naperville residents John and Carolyn Roscich.

Century Walk Chairman Brand Bobosky said the corporation has attempted to keep up with the times by using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about its initiatives. The audio tour is just the next step.

"It's state-of-the-art technology and it's working very well," he said. "It's like going to the Louvre (Museum in Paris, France) but it's better because it's in Naperville and it's free."

By the end of this year, Bobosky said, he hopes to garner enough sponsorships for the initiative to eventually place a unique QR code at each of the 40 sites. Doing that would allow visitors to scan the code and instantly play the narration, rather than downloading each from the mobile website.

"Once we are able to do that, I don't know what more we can do to improve this thing," Bobosky said. "We're already giving you quality art with historical significance and now we're throwing in someone with a pleasant voice to tell you a little about the piece you happen to be interacting with."

Brochures featuring the QR code and an updated map featuring all 40 locations are currently available at Century Walk headquarters at 34 W. Chicago Ave. Suite B. Eventually they will be available at several downtown merchants and at city hall and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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