The Century Walk Corporation

New Sculpture in Central Park

April 30, 2018


Century Walk seeks professional sculptors whose work will be considered for a permanent installation outdoors in Central Park, downtown Naperville, Illinois.

Who: All experienced, professional sculptors are invited to submit proposals for consideration. Artists must be experienced with design, construction and installation of outdoor sculpture and must have a documented track record of this experience. Only the highest quality of work will be considered. This opportunity is open to artists within the United States of America. Illinois artists will be given preference.


Theme: The theme is “Laughing Lincoln.”

The Story: Central Park is the location of the first Public Square in DuPage County. Upon the removal of the county seat to Wheaton in 1868 the county deeded the 3.8 acres to Naperville for public purposes. 

Joe Naper, founder of Naperville, and Abe Lincoln served together in Illinois state government. It is rumored (who can really ever untangle the motivations a politician has when it’s time to cast their vote?) that a vote exchange occurred: Joe voting to remove the state capitol from Vandalia to Springfield, Abe voting to carve DuPage County out of Cook. Both votes did occur (each crossing party lines) and the capitol moved and the county formed.

Don Wehrli, citizen advocate, was the champion of keeping the original size of Central Park available for all citizens as a public park. Over the years Central Park was compromised with parking and a roadway. Thoughtful design and careful consideration by many people brought Central Park to life as business and government interests approved the diminution of Central Park to serve the times. Don’s diligence and actions reminded all parties that the land, all of it, still belongs to the people. 

What’s to laugh about? - Citizens in search of conversation and fairness amidst the changing tides. It is a wise, content and understanding gesture of hard work, knowledge, irony, joy, and patience.

Concept to Include: Positioned on an object that allows people to sit next to Lincoln. A representation of the Deed to Central Park. The sculpture encourages public interaction including photo opportunities.

The Setting: The eastern part of Central Park is the location of the Blackhawk Monument, the DuPage County Centennial Monument, and a nearby civil war cannon. It faces the Community Concert Center which hosts free summer concerts by the Naperville Municipal Band among other scheduled events. It is in the heart of vibrant downtown Naperville IL. Sculpture will face the stage.

Selection Criteria: Sculpture will be selected based on its originality, artistic merit and ability to communicate this theme to all visitors – thereby enhancing the experience of a visit to Naperville and an appreciation of citizen advocacy.

 View the artist's entry form here.