Naper Settlement's gingerbread man is a nostalgic look at yesterday
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Students from the Naperville North High School National Art Honor Society designed and painted the gingerbread man sculpture for Naper Settlement.
Courtesy of Naperville North High School
Naperville, IL — When 25 gingerbread men sculptures are unveiled as part of the Downtown Naperville Alliance's holiday lights celebration at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, one of those sculptures will be a nostalgic look at a gone, but not forgotten favorite, the Cock Robin ice cream shop. The Naper Settlement gingerbread man will be located in front of the Pre-Emption House Visitor Center, 523 S. Webster St. at the corner of Aurora Avenue and Webster Street.
The gingerbread man sponsored by Naper Settlement is wearing a uniform that includes a bright red visor and apron, adorned with the Cock Robin logo of a jaunty robin wearing a top hat and tuxedo. The concept for the sculpture was developed by Naperville North High School senior Ethan Cherry, who is president of the high school's National Art Honor Society. The sculpture was completed by members of the Honor Society under his direction.
Josh Chartier, Naper Settlement's Director of Organizational Resources, said, "NNHS has done a terrific job for Naper Settlement. This sculpture is a continuation of other art projects that the high school has done around the Naperville area and we are very glad to be partnering with the school to showcase the students' talents."
Although it was a first time effort for his students to work on a piece of public art, Tim Brodeur, art teacher and honor society advisor, has worked on public art sculptures when he was a student at North Central College.
When Cherry began researching the beloved ice cream shop that was a fixture in downtown Naperville for almost 70 years, he discovered how much people missed the Cock Robin restaurant in downtown Naperville.
"I feel like the classic simplicity of the sculpture captures the essence of both Cock Robin and the upcoming holiday season. The depiction of the gingerbread man is universal and, for a lack of a better word, just cute!" Cherry said. "It reminds me of the kind of gingerbread man that you see in Christmas storybooks and movies. This imagery paired with the iconic red Cock Robin uniform worked out perfectly."
Tim Penick of Positively Naperville began an initiative in 2011 to celebrate the history and culture of the independently-owned ice cream enterprise by creating slate blue t-shirts with the Cock Robin logo, with the blessing of the late Rita Harvard, whose parents, Walter and Grace Fredenhagen, founded and owned Cock Robin.
"We were thrilled when folks at Naper Settlement came up with the idea to use the 'Cock Robin' logo on their gingerbread sculpture," said Stephanie Penick, publisher of Positively Naperville. "We're hopeful the logo will bring back fond memories of square scoops of ice cream and the signature boxes of toffee given this time of year."
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