Pulling history closer; Century Walk adds newest artwork at Naper Settlement
June 29, 2001 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Kathy Millen
More than 125 people came out to see the newest work of art take its place in the Naperville Century Walk public exhibit Thursday afternoon.
"Horse Market Days," a group of three life-size bronze sculptures of a boy, a horse and a dog, is located outside Naper Settlement at Webster Street and Aurora Avenue.
Cast at the Images in Bronze foundry in Mount Morris, the figures recreate a scene from the late 1800s through 1925, when Naperville set aside the first Saturday of the month for buying and selling horses at the Pre-Emption House.
"We've been at this for about two years," said Brand Bobosky, Century Walk president.
"What you see today is a snapshot in time."
Pamela Carpenter, whose statue of late Sun columnist Genevieve Towsley became the project's 11th piece, sculpted the 5-foot figure of the young boy using 19th century pictures of Gus Hiltenbrand, son of the original Pre-Emption House owners.
She also used pictures of her son, Ryan, to capture the boy's facial expression.
Her 13-year-old daughter, Elle, modeled the boy's pose.
"When I look at it I see a lot of things," Carpenter said.
"Not only Naperville's history but personal history."
The young boy is pulling the reins of a rearing horse, sculpted by Robert Buono.
The Wisconsin artist spent the past two years working in a Chicago studio creating the horse out of 3,000 pounds of clay.
He modeled the figure on horses he videotaped at local stables.
The sculpture stands 8 feet tall and weighs more than 1,300 pounds.
"It's the largest single figure I have ever done," Buono said.
"It used all the skills that I have been acquiring all my life.
I was very proud of myself being able to do it."
Torsten Muehl of Forest Park created the crouching, barking herd dog using Carpenter's dog, Lucy, as a model.
Muehl, a physical therapist at Cook County Hospital, is a part-time artist who worked three months on the sculpture, his first piece in a public art exhibit.
"It's a terrific feeling," he said.
"I am really appreciative of the community inviting us to do this."
"Horse Market Days" is the 14th piece in the Century Walk exhibit, a 10-year initiative started in 1996 to place public art relating to 20th century Naperville in the downtown area.
Financed by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the city's hotel-motel taxes, local banks and private donors, the exhibit will include a total of 30 pieces by the time it is complete in 2006.
Exhibit administrator Pat Springer said the sculptures are the most expensive pieces in the Century Walk collection; together, they cost $70,000. The Rotary Club of Naperville contributed $25,000 toward the purchase.
Still, she said, the sculptures were a bargain considering other artists' quotes came in at more than $80,000 for the three pieces.
"If we had not been so lucky to find these three artists, we wouldn't have been able to do it," Springer said.
"We've been lucky enough in all our Century Walk work to find artists more interested in having public art than they are willing to give up the price they might get if they went through a private source."
Mayor George Pradel said the sculptures, visible from Aurora Avenue, will attract visitors to Naperville.
"People will remember this," Pradel said.
"They'll see it going by and they'll want to stop and they'll want to see what's happening here at the settlement.
It's another reason for you to come to Naperville."
George Olson, center, watches Ed Lawler of the Naperville Electric Department, right, guide the sculpture of a horse onto its platform at Naper Settlement. The statue is part of "Horse Market Days," which also features sculptures of a boy and a dog. The artwork is part of the Century Walk exhibit. -- Foundry wrokers Jeff Adams and Darrell Diehl, right, adjust one of three sculptures dedicated Wednesday afternoon as part of the Century Walk public art exhibit at Naper Settlement.