Mural unveiled in downtown Aurora during Fox River Arts Ramble on April 21

A mural by Cheryl Holz representing downtown Aurora and the Fox River will be unveiled behind Aurora Fastprint, 54 E. Galena Blvd., on Saturday, April 21.

The first piece of public art to go through Aurora’s new public art  ordinance is being unveiled this Saturday. The mural will be unveiled behind Aurora Fastprint, 54 E. Galena Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the inaugural Fox River Arts Ramble.

Aurora Fastprint owner Kim Granholm commissioned artist Cheryl Holz to create a piece of art for the back of building that is adjacent to the Fox River and faces New York Street in downtown Aurora.

Holz, of Aurora, is a longtime collage artist working upstairs in Aurora Art Studios, so it was a natural collaboration.

“This will not be a mural in the traditional sense, painted directly onto a wall,” Holz said. “Kim wanted to employ some of the newest printing technology to wrap the back of the building,” she added.

Holz said she was originally daunted by the challenge of trying to create a beautiful piece of art on a wall covered with pipes of every material, vents, a fire escape, etc., but Holz, whose mixed media work is often sculptural, came up with a concept of making another layer of panels and sculpture to cover a majority of the chaos.

Granholm was on board to try it out and the work began. The completion of the mural took many local resources including the Paramount Theatre’s set shop, Aurora Sign Company and Lite Construction.

Holz describes the mural as a contemporary piece of art that incorporates references to Aurora’s rich cultural artistic, musical, and literary history, and the beautiful river that runs through it.

Painterly splatters and washes represent the art-making happening inside the building, and all throughout Aurora. There are nods to the blues history, and the text running through the center is a poem called “Aurora” by Susan Schubert, a member of A-Town Poetics, a local poetry group. Significant downtown buildings are seen at sunset with street lamps that gave Aurora its name. The Fox River has small mouth bass, soft-shell turtles, and other species scattered throughout the mural. A 3D dragonfly of stainless steel perches above a dimensional silhouette of native prairie plants, and a monarch perches above the skyline.  

During the Ramble, Holz opens her studio for visitors, along with neighboring artist Anne Von Ehr. Schubert will read poetry at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Aurora Fastprint hosts an open house with music, light snacks, and cocktails for the remainder of the afternoon.

Fox River Arts Ramble is a one-day self-guided tour of art along the Fox River from Aurora to Elgin. Downtown Aurora features nine locations to visit. For more information and a map, visit www.foxriverarts.com