The Century Walk Corporation

Audio explanations now available for outdoor art in Naperville

January 3, 2013 — Source: Trib Local — Author: Gary Gibula

Naperville Century Walk organizers have added new Quick Response scan codes to 42 outdoor works of art, enabling smartphone users to listen to 3-minute audio files on each.

"The audio tours tell you about the artist, the inspiration and the story behind each piece of art," said Melanie Pusateri, Century Walk vice-president and creative director. "They're meant to help you better appreciate the art while you're looking directly at it."

A code symbol is affixed to the bronze plaque on the sculptures, mosaics and murals.

"The coding was the brainchild of John Roscich, who has been very involved in the Century Walk over the years and who is the voice on the audio tours," Pusateri said.

Roscich said he suggested the project about two years ago, and then it was dropped in his lap last December. He and his wife, Carolyn, both Naperville attorneys, donated their time and voices to make the audio recordings, which provide additional information on the exhibits.

"For example, with the Officer Friendly sculpture, we explain that before he was mayor, George Pradel was a longtime Naperville police officer who was the first Officer Friendly," Roscich said. "He worked closely with the children of the community about safety and created the first safety town for kids one summer in the parking lot of Highland School."

For those who do not use smartphones, the audio files may be downloaded from the Century Walk website, centurywalk.org, and played back on any mobile device or portable music player.

In existence since 1996, the Naperville Century Walk is a nonprofit organization funded by the city of Naperville, the Illinois Arts Council, local banks and private donors. The outdoor works include a sculpture of Dr. Seuss' Grinch character, which was installed in October at the Naper Boulevard Library and a 9-foot figure of Dick Tracy. It stands near Water Street and honors resident Dick Locher, who has drawn the comic strip since 1983.

The Century Walk website also includes a map that suggests the best way to walk and see the artworks. Most, but not all, are within walking distance of downtown.

"There are so many historic places in town that folks don't know about," Roscich said. "These art pieces bring them alive, preserving our culture and our history."