Aurora officials have big plans for the grand opening and entrance of the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library at 101 S. River St. in downtown.
Aurora Public Library Foundation members and community leaders gathered Thursday in the steel and concrete shell of the library to announce a $250,000 grant from the Dunham Fund to support the arts and education at the new library, scheduled to open in May 2015.
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The design of the "Dream Catcher" glass sculpture, to be displayed in the newly named John C. Dunham Atrium of the Santori Library, also was unveiled.
The Dunham Fund grant will cover the costs of the fabrication and installation of the 14-by 12-foot sculpture and the educational components.
When fully mounted into the atrium, the LED technology will descend eight feet and radiate colors that will transform the interior both in daylight and at nighttime.
Artist Jerry Savage, a retired University of Illinois art professor, said his "Dream Catcher" concept combines art and science technologies and represents the transition of the printed word to the information highway. It also, he said, is a tribute to the libraries he used as a child.
"Human beings have an intrinsic sense of beauty and truth," Savage said. "The library is the perfect location for the Dream Catcher because the library is available to all. The oval shape of the sculpture is a symbol of our universe and connects to a globe that represents human intelligence and problem-solving technology."
As part of the display, when the library opens, a kiosk will show the creation of the "Dream Catcher" from the design phase to installation. It also will serve as an educational component to support Aurora's STEAM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School on the Aurora University Campus.
"This powerful piece celebrates literacy and learning," said architect John Clark, who collaborated with Savage in developing the piece. "It symbolizes our amazing digital age where traditional sources of information are transformed into new ones."
Additionally, in conjunction with the Dunham Fund, the library will be planning and preparing to offer virtual desktops to help students in the Santori Library.
The Dunham Fund was established by John C. Dunham in 1996, two years after his retirement as chairman of the board of Equipto, the company his father founded in Aurora in 1907.