The Century Walk Corporation

Central Students Help Create Mural Downtown

September 28, 2010 — Source: Central Times — Author: Shannon Marks

Central students, in conjunction with KidsMatter and the Naperville Century Walk, worked over the summer to create a mural depicting “constructive uses of time in Naperville” in downtown Naperville.

The mural, located on the fifth level of the parking garage at the corner of Main and Van Buren St., features the artwork of nine Central students, as well as art teacher Chris Hodge who worked alongside Timm Etters, a local muralist who has work in Central.

“KidsMatter approached us about doing a mural, but we didn’t have the experience to do the project initially,” Hodge said. “Then [KidsMatter] got Timm Etters to oversee and teach the students with their work.”

Etters and Hodge worked together to select students to work on the project and reviewed each student’s work before they began working on the mural.

“I have always enjoyed working with students and helping kids who want to be artists become artists,” said Etters. “I want to help them avoid the junk that I went through, so they don’t have to struggle for quite as long.”

Each student had their own portion of the mural, which was imbedded in a larger, school-spirited design painted by Etters.

KidsMatter required the students to spend at least 70 hours working on their finished product and received a summer art credit for their efforts.

“Creating this mural was like having a full time job for the kids,” said Caitlyn White, assistant and artist apprentice to Etters.

The student project lasted from Aug. 9 through 24, when Etters began work on his portion of the mural. Etters expects to finish within approximately 2 weeks.

Once Etters’ work is completed, participants are planning to dedicate the mural to Kids Matter and the Naperville Century Walk.

KidsMatter strives to “empower youth and families,” while The Naperville Century Walk focuses on involving the community in the artwork which represents it, according to their websites.

“It’s usually a pretty big deal when they dedicate the Century Walk projects,” Etters said.

In addition, the four surrounding Naperville high schools will have identical programs, continuing to work alongside Etters to complete their murals on different levels of the parking garage.

Waubansie Valley and Naperville North plan to complete their murals in the summer of 2011, and Nequa Valley and Metea Valley the following summer, said senior Wendy Wei, who participated in the program.

“The schools will be going in order from oldest [school], to newest, and each school’s mural will have their own theme,” White said.

Wei and fellow muralist, sophomore Jimmy Nashert, were impressed with the results.

“I’m really impressed with the finished product. Everyone had their own style and approach [to the theme], and it showed,” Wei said.

“I saw this as a way to contribute to the community and make those ugly blank parking garage walls into something meaningful,” Nashert said.