Late artist’s sculptures find homes in Braidwood and Wilmington
By Mary Baskerville For The Herald-News October 8, 2012 9:52AM
Braidwood and Wilmington recently have purchased and will put on display several works the late Jack Barker, a metal folk artist from Essex. | submitted photo
Bison on display
WILMINGTON — Those familiar with traveling Route 66 through Wilmington are welcomed by the Gemini Giant and the Sinclair Dino. Now, the Island City has added a bison to its Route 66 attractions.
The bison was one in the collection of the late Jack Barker, a local artist. The buffalo was purchased by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce because it “is part of America and part of what defines the area,” said Pam Monson, first vice president of the chamber.
The buffalo will be installed near Wilmington’s new North Island pedestrian bridge.
Updated: November 10, 2012 6:12AM
BRAIDWOOD — The late Jack Barker of Essex was a local metal folk artist.
Today, his work is becoming a part of the local landscape, with both Wilmington and Braidwood featuring pieces from his collection along the famous Mother Road — U.S. Route 66.
Braidwood Mayor Bill Rulien purchased eight pieces during the recent auction.
The mayor paid for the art, in the hope that he can make them available for local businesses to buy and display at the city’s Route 66 Park and Welcome Center. The center has a picnic table and pavilion.
“We’ll see what happens,” Rulien said at a recent city council meeting. Barker “took junk and made it into art,” Rulien said.
Cost of sponsorship will vary, he said.
Since the council meeting, sponsors have come forward for all but one piece of artwork. Sculptures already sponsored include:
“The Pink Elephant” by Beaver Creek Golf Carts.
“The Polar Bear” by Midwest Auto Locators.
“The Cow” by J & C Travel.
“The Giraffe” by McDonald’s.
A steer is still available. Anyone interested in sponsoring the sculpture may call the mayor or Mary Beth Pressley at City Hall at 815-458-2333.