THE NAPERVILLE ART OF INCLUSION, WHY TWO MOMS CHOSE TO GET INVOLVED
NAPERVILLE–The Naperville Art of Inclusion group started in June of 2020, shortly after George Floyd's death in May. A visitor to Naperville, Tyler Marcus, from Downers Grove, reacted to a mural that he felt did not reflect diversity. Since that time, Marcus has met with Century Walk's Brand Bobosky and has learned that there are 35 other pieces of artwork in Naperville's Century Walk collection that do reflect diversity.
The Art of Inclusion committee painted its inaugural piece of inclusive-focused art entitled “Naperville Together” on Saturday, September 26, on the Naperville Township Parking lot at 139 Water Street.
The live street painting concept was inspired by Naperville Central sophomore Mia Hernandez. With the support of Art Committee chairs Sophia Forero and Crystle Saylor, an amazing plan was developed by project leads Sangeeta Pande and Julie Kulak. In addition to the artists above, contributing artists also include Dr. Alicia McCareins, Sarah Knight Adamson, Brand Bobosky, Eddie Bedford, Carolyn Finzer, Mauricio Forero, Rebecca Hernandez, Madeline Lei, Zhuyu Lei, Rich Lo, Tyler Marcus, Victoria May, Evelyn Murillo, Ramya Roddom, Peter Thaddeus, and Sarah Uy.
With a continued focus on bringing Naperville Together, the local community was invited to participate in the artistic process by placing their handprint in the letter N at any time between 9 am, and 1 pm. A welcome ceremony was held at 1 pm to thank the sponsors and community leaders for their contributions and efforts resulting in this concept becoming reality. Art of Inclusion’s mission is to create public art that reflects the diversity of Naperville and promotes unity and inclusion in our community.
PHOTO: Sarah Knight Adamson (left) and Dr. Alicia McCareins (right) are Pictured with a Brand Bobosky.
What Inspired Two Naperville Moms to Get Involved
One of the contributing artists, Sarah Knight Adamson, is a former teacher and a mom who raised 3 kids. The active community supporter shared with us why she wanted to get involved.
“As a 39-year Naperville resident, raising three children here and a former teacher in District #203, I wanted to be proactive in making sure that we work towards the goal of all children in our community feeling welcome and accepted here. The skin tone rainbow in the 'A’ I designed in our NAPERVILLE TOGETHER street art stands for 'ALL.'”
DR. ALICIA MCCAREINS
Dr. Alicia McCareins, a community leader of Naperville, also explained why she got involved with the Art of Inclusion Group.
"I watched George Floyd die in eight minutes, as our country and the rest of the world did because a police officer chose to use his knee to snuff out Floyd's life. I could not erase the depravity of the officer's callous physical action from my mind; what was even tougher to erase, though, was Mr. Floyd's voice calling out for his momma just before he died. "I want my momma." A grown man, mindful of his imminent death, felt compelled to plead to his deceased mother for help, as a mother of three adult sons, that hit close to home. I do not march. I won't damage property. However, I felt compelled to take action. I sought solace and healing in a newly-formed group in Naperville, whose mission was to promote diversity, unity, and inclusion in our community. Joining the Art of Inclusion helped me deal with my inner emotional turmoil as I addressed the racial issues that became front and center in the U.S. and the world. The group and I have begun to achieve some measure of peace through our community efforts.”
Dr. McCarein's summed up her reason for what she is personally hoping this new committee will accomplish.
"As a black woman who emigrated to the U.S. in the late sixties, married after college to a white male, and raised three sons, I have nothing but praise for what this country offers to anyone eager to take advantage of its opportunities. Racial issues have affected us from time to time, but they were manageable, we rose above them, and we worked successfully at changing attitudes and behavior.
Today, our current political climate feels like giant steps have been taken backwards, and that is terrifying. What can our Art of Inclusion committee do? Urge the many diverse people in our town to come together and embrace educating each other through art as our Naperville Together mural is doing successfully. We will undertake projects where love and appreciation for others dominate. We will strive to rise above the current divisiveness. Naperville has a rich history of spreading joy through public art. We will continue this trend because we need to do so now more than ever."
Photos by Joel Vissia