Students create public art for Lake Zurich's Paulus Park
Lake Zurich High School art students have left a mark on the village that'll be showcased at a reception Sunday afternoon.
More than 20 students in the school's now-graduated Advanced Placement studio art class created a mural that went on an exterior wall of the Barn at Paulus Park. The mural is made up of 29 panels stretching 40 feet along the wall on the village parks department building's lower level.
To celebrate the public artwork, Lake Zurich Unit District 95, the high school's visual arts team, village officials, the students and their families will hold a reception open to the public at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Barn.
Discussions about having high school students create a public art project started more than a year ago. Lake Zurich High art teacher Matt Winkelman, who was among the instructors to participate in the mural's creation, said the project was completed in about two weeks after officials settled on the location at the Barn.
Now it's hoped the high school can deliver more public art to Lake Zurich.
"It's through these types of projects you're able to communicate with the stakeholders at all levels," Winkelman said.
Lake Zurich Public Works employees installed the mural Wednesday.Students took into account the nearby lake, the building's use for children's programs and other elements to come up with the theme "the flowing of time" for the unnamed mural.
Overlapping circles and a wave pattern tie together the 29 treated wooden panels of varying size, but students hand painted individual art on each. Going from left to right, the panels gradually move from being mostly black and white to vivid color at the end.
One panel depicts a classic train station with an old-fashioned clock at the top and a stylish woman waiting by a platform. The text reads: "The Boys Are Coming Home."
Lake Zurich's student-created mural drew praise Thursday from an expert who's been involved in community public art for 25 years.
Olivia Gude, a professor in the school of art and art history at University of Illinois-Chicago, said outdoor murals are about place making. She said artist-led collaborative projects are a good way to transform ordinary spaces into vivid, unique places that draw people together to create community and stimulate imagination.
"Many small towns have used murals as a way to share history, affirm heritage and enliven public life," Gude said. "I would hope that every suburban town thinks about how public art, especially by its own residents, can contribute a sense of vitality to public space."
Gude has been part of more than 50 significant public and mosaic projects that have involved a cross-section of generations. Gude's collage of images and text that were painted on unprimed brick wall for a community mural in DeKalb in 1999 was recognized with an Illinois Governor's Award for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization a year after its creation.
Lake Zurich High students helped the village when they were asked to enter a contest that solicited logo designs for the revamped farmers market, which opened last month. Mayor Thomas Poynton presented a certificate of appreciation and a $100 check to the winner, Melissa Uhl of Hawthorn Woods.