Naperville will welcome Joseph Naper home Friday afternoon with a ceremony dedicating a sculpture of the city's founding father at the spot where he first settled in 1831.
The 4 p.m. ceremony will celebrate the first piece of public art dedicated to Naper -- a bronze-cast image of the man at age 33 arriving in the wilderness and beginning to survey the land.
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Developed by Naper Settlement and funded by grants the settlement received, the $185,000 sculpture features the work of well-known Naperville cartoonist Dick Locher and sculptor Jeff Adams of inBronze foundry in Mount Morris, Ill. The 1,500- to 2,000-pound piece was lowered and secured into place Aug. 9 at the Naper Homestead Historic Interpretive Site at the southeast corner of Mill Street and Jefferson Avenue.
"We decided to include public art and what better way to honor our town founder for the first time in history than with a bronze sculpture?" Bryan Ogg, Naper Settlement's curator of research, said earlier this month as the sculpture was installed.
Artists Locher and Adams, Naperville Heritage Society members, Naper Settlement staff and elected officials at the city, regional, state and federal levels have been invited to Friday's ceremony, in which burlap covering the sculpture will be removed.
Jefferson Avenue between Mill and Eagle streets will be closed between 3:30 and 5 p.m. for dedication ceremony logistics, city officials said.
"This is the first public art dedicated solely to our town founder," Ogg said about the nearly 9-foot tall sculpture of Naper. "This is about 180 years overdue."