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Art work; Students go on scavenger hunt looking for items in Century Walk pieces

November 10, 2004 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Tim Waldorf

For the past five years, Jane Garrison has wandered with her students through the streets of downtown Naperville.

With Naperville Century Walk brochures in hand Tuesday, they all sought to find a list of objects found in the pieces of public art throughout the city.

But even though she has embarked on the Century Walk scavenger hunt with the answers in hand each and every year, Garrison, a fourth-grade teacher at Maplebrook Elementary School, has never been able to spot the last item on the list -- the shooting star.

That changed Tuesday as she strolled up to "The Printed Word" at Ellman's Music Center and a student spotted it in the upper left-hand cornerof the mural, which tells the story of publishing in Naperville.

"You guys," Garrison said. "I've done this for five years, and I've never found the shooting star."

Therein lies the point of the project. People all too often speed through galleries when they visit museums, and even though they live in Naperville, residents may never notice the array of art in their midst.

"So it's really just to make them look closer and to make them realize what's here," Garrison said of the scavenger hunt. "Because the kids always look so fast."

The Century Walk scavenger hunt was developed by Lauma Griffin, an art awareness parent volunteer at Highlands Elementary School, shortly after the Century Walk project came to fruition.

Griffin's scavenger hunt has been passed from teacher to teacher, and is now part of a number of Naperville School District 203 schools' annual activities.

The hunt has students search for 37 objects found in 19 of the 22 pieces of art along the Century Walk. "Horse Market Days," "College Community County" and "The Spirit of the American Doughboy" are all too far from the heart of the downtown area for the fourth-graders to visit on foot, but everything else along the walk is included in the hunt.

"This is one of those things where there's never enough time," Garrison said, noting the students and their parent chaperones had an hour and a half to complete as much of the hunt as possible.

"Interesting enough, though, most of the groups get through most of the list."

Stacey Lignoski, a senior at Naperville North High School, interns under Garrison's supervision as part of the school's introduction to teaching class. She joined the fourth-graders Tuesday afternoon to take part in the scavenger hunt.

"I never even knew some of this stuff existed before," she told the students. "This is cool, guys. I never knew our town was so cool."

She didn't, but Joey Wheeler, one of Garrison's students, did. He even knew where to find "Symbiotic Sojourn," which was left off the map in the brochure. At the back of the Main Street Promenade, it isn't easy to find without a little help.

"I know where everything is," he said, noting his parents have taken him to see all of the art along the walk.

However, he didn't know which pieces of art possessed the objects on the 37-item list, which includes a black taxicab, horseshoes, buttons with stars, the words "Naperville has grown fat," the SS Peter and Paul Church steeple, an equation, an automotive history in glass, a handshake, a carriage, a wedding ring, an astronaut, a conductor, Edward Hospital, a piece of wheat and a schoolhouse bell.

While the scavenger hunt is an age-appropriate activity for her fourth-graders, Garrison suggested some adults would certainly find it an enjoyable way to spend the kind of nice afternoon her class enjoyed Tuesday.

"We're fortunate that our community leaders had the foresight to create something like this, because it's so enriching," she said. "Everybody benefits."

Maplebrook Elementary School fourth-graders, from left, Emily Walsh, Jasmi Pazhampally and Caitlin Culhane get up close and comfortable Tues

 

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