Water Street gets sneak peek at Public Art coming to the Naperville Downtown District

Marquette Companies’ CEO Nick Ryan,  Peter Foyo, President, Principal Standard Group and Brand Bobosky, Chairman of Naperville Century Walk got their first look at one of the new ceramic murals which will grace the Water Street District Riverwalk when the shopping, dining and hotel district opens later this year. Santa Fe artist Debora Duran-Geiger delivered a small study of a piece commemorating the Old Main Street Bridge and Naperville’s farming life.  The piece, to be executed in porcelain tiles, will join four others on the District’s north-facing wall along the Riverwalk , on the south bank of the DuPage River.  The finished art will be a large glazed mosaic, approximately nine feet wide and five feet high.

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Brand Bobosky (L) of Naperville Century Walk, and Peter Foyo (2nd R )and Nick Ryan (R) join Artist Debora Duran-Geiger and her husband Michael Geiger in displaying the first sample study for several ceramic mosaic murals to be installed along the Riverwalk at Water Street District later this fall.

Funded by private investors including the Dominic and Joyce Imbursia Family, the Peter Foyo Family and the Nicholas and Teresa Ryan Family, installed by Marquette Companies and administered by Century Walk, the series of works will depict life on the river along historic Water Street, as well as celebrating the many immigrant families who settled and grew Naperville throughout history.

“Art is an important part of Naperville’s downtown landscape and the Riverwalk is art in itself, with the walkways, fountains and artistic landscaping,” says Ryan.   “This series will connect the original Water Street of the 1800’s to the amazing transformation to the Water Street District.  Seeing the initial mural design, depicting the famous Main Street bridge, the early buildings on Water Street and the rural surroundings is amazing.   It brought joy to my heart!”

Ryan met Duran-Geiger and her husband Mike at last fall’s Riverwalk Art Fair, where they were showing some of the artist’s tile murals.  Shortly thereafter the Water Street team enlisted Bryan Ogg, Curator of Research at Naper Settlement to search out historic scenes from life along Water Street.  The team also solicited the assistance of Brand Bobosky and Century Walk and began to engage private investors to fund the commission and installation of what will ultimately be a series of five murals.

“Century Walk has been leading the charge to bring art to downtown Naperville for many years,” says Ryan. “It was only natural to rely on their expertise and that of Brand Bobosky to help bring the art to Water Street in a way that will be of very high quality and be well maintained for the century to come.”

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Michael Geiger and Debora Duran-Geiger present the study for the mosaic mural “Old main Street Bridge” to investors Nick Ryan or Marquette Companies and Peter Foyo, and Brand Bobosky of Naperville Century Walk. The mural is one of five which will be installed along the Riverwalk at Water Street later this fall.

Using photos and references from the Naper Settlement archives, Duran-Geiger began with a paper and pencil sketch of her concept, which she then transferred onto terra cotta bisque-fired tiles.  Using wax resist, querda seca and skip trailing techniques, she glazed the image with a variety of glazes to give the piece dimension and texture.  The sky was given the water-color effect with majolica gaze technique.  The sample tiles were then fired in an electric kiln by her husband Mike.

“It’s amazing to see a community so engrossed in its own history and dedicated to keeping it,” says Duran-Geiger.  “The vision of Century Walk and Marquette to use art to enhance the community and inform viewers is unique.  Mike and I travel a lot and I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it.”   Duran-Geiger visited Naper Settlement while visiting to deliver her “Old Main Street Bridge” study last week, and is incorporating numerous little touches to make the pieces even more indigenous.  Look closely at the “Old Main Street Bridge” and you’ll see a cardinal, the State bird, and violets, the State flower of Illinois. “It’s an honor to have my pieces hung in a community so committed to making art a part of everyday life,” she says. “My husband lived here along with five brothers and sisters as a boy, and went to Elmwood School. He’s wanted to come back. Now I see why.”

Studies for additional pieces will be delivered throughout the summer and the installation of the final murals on Water Street is anticipated later this year as construction permits.

Water Street District announces first Southern Tide Signature Store in Midwest

Island Sport helps bring the lifestyle brand to Naperville

 Naperville, IL – Fans of Southern Tide apparel will need look no further than Downtown Naperville’s Water Street District for a wide array of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories from the innovative lifestyle brand.  Popular items include men’s sport shirts and polos, women’s shirts and dresses, men’s, women’s and youth t-shirts, shorts and swim apparel.

Loren Beadle and his wife Amy of Island Sport, long-time residents of the western suburbs of Chicago, opened the first signature Southern Tide store on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, in 2015, and this fall Loren will bring the Southern Tide brand to Naperville. Beadle says of this new retail endeavor, “Southern Tide is one of the top brands created in the last few decades that is stylish, youthful and classic.”  While the brand is carried in a few apparel and department stores in the area, this will be the first store dedicated to Southern Tide in the Midwest.  The store is expected to open on the south side of Water Street this fall, coinciding with the opening of Hotel Indigo and other retailers in the District.

“We are excited to add Southern Tide to the list of quality retailers and restaurants that guests to Water Street can enjoy,” says developer Nick Ryan, CEO of Marquette Companies. “This is a vibrant brand with a huge national following. It will provide a great compliment to London Skye, Traveling Tots and the other businesses we are attracting to the District. Hotel Indigo guests will recognize and appreciate the brand.”

Southern Tide launched in 2006, and since then the brand’s legendary “Skipjack Polo” has become a benchmark in the men’s clothing industry and a necessity for gentlemen of every age. Southern Tide has generated a multitude of devoted fans who consider the brand their resource for youthful, elegant apparel that reflects a region steeped in heritage and tradition.

“The Southern Tide team is excited about our growing partnership with Island Sport and beginning a new partnership with the Water Street District in opening our first signature store in the Midwest,” commented Christopher Heyn, CEO of Southern Tide.   “Southern Tide’s unique approach to a spirited American lifestyle continues to resonate with customers, new and old.  We’re thrilled to take this next step in bringing our branded lifestyle to the Midwest and are delighted to have joined the Water Street District family.  Our signature stores and retail partners are the perfect way to connect with customers and show them all Southern Tide has to offer. No one ever wants to leave the warm sands and open air of the oasis that is the beach, but with our products, you’ll feel like you never left.”

In addition to the Hotel Indigo Naperville, The Water Street District will offer a variety of restaurants, retail shops, a banquet facility and offices along the signature Riverwalk.  Expansion of the Riverwalk on the south side of the river will feature a lighted Century Walk art wall and will be reached by a broad staircase leading from the Plaza and fountain.  A 520-space public/private parking facility will be adjacent to the hotel, providing parking for the Water Street district and additional downtown visitor parking.