Stimson Sculpture Garden
A Courtyard that invokes the joy of reading through art…
Once upon a time there was a library that dared to dream it could provide more than books. It dreamt that it could invoke the joy of reading through great works of art in a courtyard of peace and quiet. That library is the Waukegan Public Library and here is the story…
The Art of a Story
What is your earliest memory of reading? Is it sitting on someone’s lap listening to your favorite story, or learning to read yourself? Or perhaps it involves trips to the library and believing that someday you would read every book there? It is our earliest memories of reading that evoke the strongest emotions.
Creating those memories for the next generation is our challenge. It’s knowing which stories, books and poems will capture the imagination and feed the soul. A good book is as true an art form as a beautiful painting, or a haunting photograph, or an inspirational song.
How do you capture those memories and stories? The Waukegan Public Library, a cornerstone in the revitalization of the city of Waukegan, is attempting to capture them through sculpture.
The library’s first sculpture, Man Writes, is located at the south end of the courtyard and was installed in February 1966, soon after the building opened. It is the work of Evanston sculptor Martin Hurtig and portays “man’s efforts to communicate throughout the ages”. Go here for a description of the symbols on each triangle.
In 2000 the library’s Foundation introduced the Art of a Story project. This project installed 14 bronze sculptures on the grounds of the library. All the statues embody the library’s mission — to promote reading — by featuring characters reading.
The Waukegan Public Library Foundation was responsible for raising of private funds to pay for the project — no tax dollars were used to purchase the artwork!
Seven bronze statues ranging from 7 to 46 inches in height were installed in the first phase of the project. The pieces include: Little Sisters, Once Upon a Time, First Reader, Time Out, Bookin’ It, Little Scholar and Storytime II. Six of the seven pieces feature children reading. The last is a whimsical piece showing a “bookish” snail-One that the children of the community are guaranteed to love! Chapter 1 is complete.
Upon completion of Chapter One, the foundation embarked upon the second phase of the sculpture garden project, adding 4 more more pieces to the library grounds. The new pieces added in the Spring of 2003: Egghead, Mother Goose, Literary Scot and Imagine That.
During the summer of 2012, the library lost Little Scholar by Jane Rankin, and Imagine That by Kathy Anderson, and immediately the foundation began looking for replacement pieces for the garden. In November, three spectacular new sculptures were added to the courtyard. Best Friends, Maxey and Me, and The Frog Prince now beautifully complete our Stimson Sculpture Garden.
Literary Scot by Andrea Wilkenson – Sponsored by former president of the Waukegan Public Library Board Alex Garcilazo. Dedicated to all dog lovers.
Little Sisters by Mark Lundeen – Sponsored by the many friends of Ruth Gregory and Marian Schroether.
Mother Goose by C. Russell Darmour – In honor of Don and Billie Lundquist. Sponsored by their friends and their daughter Julie.
Story Time II by Gary Price – Sponsored by the Friends of the Waukegan Public Library.
Once Upon a Time by Jo Saylors – Sponsored by an anonymous donor in celebration of the joy of reading.
Bookin’ It by Blair Muhlestein– Sponsored by Dee Jay Kweder.
Time Out by Gary Price – Sponsored by Leo and Marlene Graham in honor of Daniel Philip Sonnen.
First Reader by Dennis Smith – Sponsored by Georgianne Pfeifer Odorizzi and James L. Odorizzi in honor of the students and staff of Waukegan East High School 1975-1990.
Egghead by Kimber Fiebiger – Sponsored by the Waukegan Public Library Foundation.
Best Friends by Randolph Rose - Sponsored in memory of former librarian Elvera A. Lake by her family and friends.
Maxey and Me by Randolph Rose - Sponsored by Steffi and Elmer Stone in honor of their sons and grandchildren.
The Frog Prince by Randolph Rose - Sponsored in part by Jayben Metals, Inc., Elaine Manzke Eagon in loving memory of her husband Paul H. Eagon, and Ann and R. Vincent Johnson in honor of Judge John L. Hughes and Jean Johnson.