The Century Walk Corporation

Naperville Century Walk Empowers Students Creativity

June 5, 2012 — Source: Naperville Patch — Author: Mary Ann Lopez

As some students cheer the end of the school year, a small group will be taking on an art project, which will give them the experience of working with a seasoned artist while creating something the community can enjoy for years to come.

Timm Etters, a well-known area muralist and artist, recently offered his thanks for the support of the Naperville community and Naperville Century Walk for allowing students from area schools to learn what it’s like to be a working artist.

Etters was one of several speakers at a recent preview reception held by the Century Walk Corporation at the Hotel Arista. The event allowed the organization to share updates on art projects that have been completed, are underway or which will begin in the coming year.

As the project coordinator for the Way Finding art project at the city of Naperville’s garage located on Jackson Avenue, Etters worked with local students and helped to coordinate the summer art projects.

The Way Finding project, a partnership of Naperville Century Walk, the city of Naperville, KidsMatter, Naperville School District 203 and Indian Prairie District 204, began in 2010, with Naperville Central. Last year, Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley high schools participated.

Etters took the students through all the project’s stages from planning the work, to painting, completion and celebration.

The final two schools to participate this summer will be Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley High Schools.

“Thank you for your support of the arts,” Etters said. “Philanthropists, along with supporters like you are who we need to keep bringing our art to so many people.”

He said that projects like this help the community become connected to art, while allowing students to see the community values their work.

The student artists who participate are asked to paint a theme based on one of the 40 developmental assets that KidsMatter has determined are necessary for children to grow up healthy, caring and responsible. Those assets range from constructive use of time to having a sense of purpose.

Many of the students grew up knowing Etters work from the murals found within area school, and he said they were excited to work with him one-on-one.

Some students spent 45 hours on their pieces, while other spent up to 178 hours working to complete the artwork, he said. At the completion of the project, Etters asked the students to write up a description of their artwork and an essay to share all that they learned over the course of the summer.

“The most rewarding aspect was teaching the students,” he said.