Mural dedicated in downtown Naperville

After months of hard work, dedication and, of course, paint, the downtown Naperville mural project was officially dedicated Sunday afternoon.

The dedication took place in the fifth floor elevator waiting area of the downtown Van Buren parking garage in Naperville.

The project started last year after KidsMatter – a nonprofit organization that empowers youth and families with tools to effectively manage stress – was awarded a $5,000 grant from Naperville's Century Walk Corp. The grant allowed the group to work with artist Timm Etters to create a Naperville-themed Way Finding System and murals to enliven the Van Buren garage.

Since 1993, Etters has painted 59 murals in and around Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 schools.

Naperville Central students were only allowed to work on the mural outside of school as an independent study class.

The lower floors will be done two at a time during the next two summers by students at the Naperville area's four other high schools.

The design theme for each of the five parking levels will be based on the colors and mascots of one of the five public high schools Naperville North, Naperville Central, Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley. Each group of students will develop a theme around their choice of several developmental assets, or qualities that influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults.

All five floors are scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2012 and will be added to the city's collection of Century Walk outdoor public art pieces.

  Jeanette Kuchler, second from right, a student artist from Naperville Central High School, talks about her mural “Naperville Farmers Market” that she painted in honor of her dad, Bruce, who passed away last year. Her speech was part of the dedication for the downtown Naperville mural project Sunday at the Van Buren parking garage. Tanit Jarusan/
  Naperville Mayor George Pradel, center, speaks during the downtown Naperville mural project dedication Sunday at the Van Buren parking garage. Tanit Jarusan/