Mount Prospect, Des Plaines and Park Ridge have gotten a bit more colorful recently.
Rainbow Hospice, which is based in Mount Prospect and has connections to all three communities, has launched its third "public art project" to raise money and awareness -- dozens of brightly painted butterfly statues.
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The fiberglass statues -- there are 64 of them so far -- have been placed at key spots in the three towns. Each one has been sponsored, designed and decorated by an individual, local business or other group.
"We thought the butterfly was a good metaphor for what we do," said Dave Samson, Rainbow's vice president and chief development officer. "It's a symbol of change, of hope, of new life."
Samson said public art projects have a number of benefits. They beautify the participating communities. They help draw people to local business areas. And they raise awareness of Rainbow Hospice's presence and mission, he said.
Proceeds from this year's project, which is titled "Promises Take Flight," will be used to help Rainbow's Good Mourning Program for Children, Teens and Families, which offers support services for young people dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Some of the butterflies will be auctioned or sold outright at the hospice's annual ball on Oct. 20. Most, however, stay with the sponsor.
"Our sponsors grow so close to them, because many of them are done in honor of someone, we don't have the heart to take them away," said Jackie Mathews, Rainbow's director of special events.
Instead, sponsors donate $1,000 for a butterfly -- $500 of which Rainbow keeps.
To help spotlight the butterfly project, Mount Prospect and Park Ridge have partnered on what they call the "Butterfly Express." On Friday, July 6, the communities encourage residents to ride the Metra train between Mount Prospect and Park Ridge to see the sculptures and take advantage of community events happening in both towns that day. The train schedule is available at metrarail.com.
"That's something that those communities came up with, and kudos to them -- it's a great idea," Samson said.
The butterfly statues will be up through October. Rainbow Hospice plans to put a map of all locations on its website, rainbowhospice.org, possibly by next week.
A map of the Mount Prospect sites is available at the village's website, mountprospect.org. A map of the Park Ridge sites is available at city hall, the Park Ridge Public Library or the chamber of commerce building.
In Des Plaines, butterflies are stationed at Lake Park; and two are scheduled to be installed at the Rivers Casino, Mathews said.
More butterflies will "take flight" as the summer progresses; and it's still not too late to order one. Call Mathews at (847) 292-2353. Keep checking the map for more sites.
Rainbow Hospice is a nonprofit organization that provides end-of-life and bereavement services for local families. It was founded 31 years ago in Des Plaines. It was headquartered in Park Ridge for many years, and recently moved to a new headquarters in Mount Prospect.