A mural in downtown Naperville depicting residents enjoying a parade is fast approaching its dedication day.
But first it has to wait for a real parade to pass.
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Century Walk Corp., a Naperville public art nonprofit group, will dedicate its 47th piece since 1996 at noon Monday after the Last Fling Labor Day Parade. The mural has been four years in the making.
"It's the 'Naperville Loves a Parade' mural and the parade has just concluded, so why not tie them together?" Century Walk Chairman Brand Bobosky said.
The public is invited to line the north side of the alley called "Rubin's Way" west of Main Street between Gap and Talbot's for the ceremony to hear the painting's back story. The three artists who painted the mural -- Dodie Mondero of Orland Park, Marianne Lisson Kuhn of Naperville and Adela Vystejnova of Naperville -- also will tell how many people, dogs, balloons, blankets and businesses are depicted in the sprawling image.
Mondero said the work is 95 percent complete; some touch-ups remain, along with work on the sky, blankets and last-minute donors who want to be painted into the mural.
"When it ends, it's just going to be an overwhelming sigh of relief," Mondero said. "And at the same time, I'm going to miss working on the mural because I love my job. I love what I do."
Supported by donors who paid at least $220,000 total for their images to be included, the mural contains more than 310 faces in a Normal Rockwell style, Bobosky said. It also contains the image of Naperville resident Greg Haldeman roughly 25 times. Century Walk soon will run a "Where's Halde" competition, challenging people to spot as many "Halde" images as they can. A couple of winners might even get their likeness painted into the scene.
"This is a gargantuan venture we did not think would take as long," Bobosky said. "But I think we really have something here that is one-of-a-kind and will truly draw people to downtown Naperville."
Across the alley, on the north wall, is the "Parade of the Century" mural, which shows Naperville's progression from 1900 to 2000. Next year, Bobosky said Century Walk will consider seeking city permission to close the alley to cars so people can more easily view the art on both sides. The group then might look to add benches and install a canopy.