September 19, 2012

artist date: hometown discoveries

This week's artist date was the perfect example of how my creative journey leads me places I never really intended to go. I set out this past weekend to visit the "Riverwalk Fine Art Fair" hosted annually in downtown Naperville by the Naperville Art League. When I worked in downtown Naperville a couple of years ago, I was aware of this art fair taking place each Fall, but never took the time to attend myself. In my decorating adventures, I have come to appreciate fine art more and more. And what better way to stimulate my creative senses than to take in the art of others who are dedicated to their craft? 
The art fair was pretty big, two blocks long and doubled up in some places, but most of the art was not my personal style. It was inspiring to see so many different fine art forms represented, and to see so many people gathered in one place for this reason! But I felt a little deflated as I walked past booth after booth and nothing really caught my fancy. It was a cool day, but nice and sunny, and so I decided to keep exploring a bit and make the most of the trip. The Naperville Riverwalk flanks both sides of the West Branch of the DuPage River, covering an almost two-mile stretch of the river banks. Even though I had worked here for almost two years, I had never walked the whole Riverwalk. So this became the second half of my artist date.
It turned out that the art that inspired me on my artist date was the art of the Riverwalk's landscape itself: so many monuments, sculptures and sights that I had never seen before or failed to appreciate. I had heard of Centennial Beach, but had never grasped what anyone referred to. The Beach is closed this time of year, but it was almost more amazing to see it abandoned, to grasp the enormity of the space. I never saw the paddleboat dock before, and only once before had stopped to observe the Millenium Carillon (a musical bell tower featuring 72 bells, Naperville's carillon ranks among the four largest in the world). I hadn't seen any of the Riverwalk sculptures, or even understood the geography of how the DuPage River winds along. It became an adventure of hometown discoveries. I won't narrate every picture, but you can learn more about the Riverwalk sculptures and history here!
As I observed the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy just a week ago with a heavy, contemplative heart, I did not know how to put my thought into any form. It felt like a gift to discover this monument to those whose lives were lost or changed forever on that day. 
And I was left to contemplate a few mysteries left behind by unknown individuals: a battered, worn Bible left all alone on a bench (who left it there??), and this small monument along the shaded South Bank Riverwalk path, with a lovely message about "what we need." 


  1. Naperville! This post takes me back to the summer I lived there. Thanks for sharing <3

  2. Emily- So happy you have your own memories of these lovely places! Thanks for reading!! xo