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updated: 9/21/2017 7:07 AM

Dozens of residents help create new artwork at Barrington library

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  • Artist Barbara Cooper, right, with some of the many Barrington-area residents who helped create the new community artwork.

    Artist Barbara Cooper, right, with some of the many Barrington-area residents who helped create the new community artwork.
    Courtesy of Karen McBride/Barrington Area Library

Christine Esposito

More than 80 Barrington-area residents and a variety of local organizations pitched in to create new artwork to be officially unveiled at an opening reception this Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Barrington Area Public Library.

The piece, co-commissioned by the library and the Lake Barrington office of Bartlett Tree Experts, is inspired by the interconnectedness of trees and of libraries with their communities.

Network consists of handmade ropes assembled by residents young and old, using largely repurposed materials -- everything from old sheets, to maps and posters, cassette tapes, and more. Participants, who made the ropes at a series of eight workshops held at the library, brought materials to use -- some of the items having sentimental value. Local organizations donated materials such as twine for the project.

Volunteers worked under the guidance of internationally-shown artist Barbara Cooper, who created the concept for Network. She has installed the artwork in a colorful overhead web of sorts in the library's soaring atrium.

"The idea for the piece started with the book, "The Hidden Life of Trees," says Ms. Cooper. "The awareness of how trees intersect and work together, and communicate through their roots and beneficial fungi attached to the roots. This is a fabulous metaphor for what a community is and how a library functions in the community."

A variety of programs and activities related to the artwork are slated to take place at the library.

The opening reception will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting and artist's talk. From 2 to 4 p.m., guests can enjoy a string quartet and refreshments, while experiencing Network and chatting with artist Barbara Cooper. Guests can take home a free tree seedling, courtesy of Bartlett Tree Experts -- while supplies last.

The library is located at 505 N. Northwest Highway, in Barrington.

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