The Century Walk Corporation

Concert center mural OK with City Council; Plans to screen films on building's doors still alive

April 22, 2004 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Colt Foutz

Century Walk's plan to paint a mural on the doors of Naperville's Community Concert Center will likely kick off with a May fund-raising reception and preview. But the City Council may have given the project its biggest boost Tuesday night.

The council voted 6-2 to approve the project, which will cover the concert center's 30-foot-by-75-foot doors with artwork depicting a conductor looking over a group of musicians and spectators.

At the same time, a proposal from the Community Cultural Exchange to show movies in Central Park at the concert center still has life. Although that proposal originally called for films to be projected on the center's doors -- the mural could be too distracting a backdrop -- the council is seeking more information about whether a portable screen could be used instead. However, some members of the council were unwilling to pay for the screen with city money.

"I believe it should not be the citizens' responsibility; it should be the responsibility of the Park District or another agency," Councilman Sam Macrane said. "You can put this at Rotary Hill or another park location ... it doesn't have to be just at the concert center."

Councilmen Doug Krause and Richard Furstenau voted against the mural. Mary Ellingson was absent.

Krause was concerned the unlighted park would make the mural an easy target for vandals. He said the idea for films there was more viable.

"I think first we paint (the doors) white and see what happens," he said. "If (the movies) don't work out, we have space available to put a mural."

But Councilman Jim Boyajian was among those willing to risk vandalism to bring the mural's beauty to the park.

"I think it would be a wonderful addition to the city and I think it's a great place for it," he said. "We've been fortunate enough not to have graffiti on any of the murals in town, but you know what? That could happen anywhere."

Furstenau wondered whether the city should approve the mural before Century Walk had raised the funds necessary to complete the installation. Brand Bobosky, president of Century Walk Corp., said the mural would cost $78,000. Century Walk has about $8,000 in reserves, Bobosky said, and is expecting a $60,000 grant from the council -- approved with the city's budget Tuesday -- leaving the organization $10,000 short.

City Manager Peter Burchard said Century Walk would not be authorized to begin painting until it shows it has the money to complete the mural.

Furstenau also worried about painting living Napervillians in the mural.

"I hope we're not memorializing people with taxpayer money," he said.

On Wednesday, Bobosky said the mural is designed in part to honor the legacy of the Naperville Municipal Band.

"There are people in the band that have served over 50 years," he said. "If you look at other murals in town you'll see we have people that are not recognizable because they may be dead, but they've made contributions to Naperville. The fact that someone happens to be alive, I think, would be a poor reason not to include them."

For now, Bobosky is keeping his group's fund-raising plans under wraps, but he said the May event should help the Century Walk go a long way toward meeting its goal. The mural should be painted over the course of about four or five months, he said. And the May preview will include another piece of art the group is excited to announce, he said.

"I will just tell you it will be our finest premiere, and we've had a couple of them," he said. "I think everybody will be happy once (the mural) is all finished. It's going to be quite a statement for the city and it fits right in with what Century Walk has been doing. And I'm sure it will attract a lot of people to Central Park."

Contact staff writer Colt Foutz at cfoutz@scn1.com or (630) 416-5196.



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