Location: Sesquicentennial Park
474 Main Street
Dedication Program - .pdf 700kb
We have a River.
Not a River in the natural sense of water,
but a River of steel wheels,
of people and freight.
A River that flows in both directions moving things
that build our country,
feeds our people and feeds our curiosity
for faraway places.
It is our heritage, our identity, something to be celebrated. Buddy Plumlee
October 22, 2016
Signa Rotae, which is Latin for Wheel Signs, is a mosaic mural created on a cement podium located at Sesquicentennial Park opposite the pedestrian path. It was created by local artist and Commission member Buddy Plumlee. Speaking of his inspiration for the name of his work, he shares, “I’ve always liked using Latin or Greek in titles, the genus and species of an art piece.”
The piece aptly melds history and art through Plumlee’s use of train-related symbols in a colorful stained glass mosaic base upon which sits a weathered train wheel provided by the West Chicago City Museum. Both elements reflect the roots of a community which was formed by the first railroad junction in Illinois in 1849, and honor the many railroad workers that have called West Chicago home over the City’s 167 year history. And indeed, the placement of Signa Rotae at Sesquicentennial Park lends itself to the historic sense of place for which the Park was dedicated in 1998 in commemoration of the City’s 150th Anniversary. Scroll to bottom of page to view some of the process involved in creating this beautiful piece of public art.
About the Artist:
As a resident of West Chicago for the past 12 years, Plumlee’s enthusiasm for the arts has contributed to his volunteer involvement on the Cultural Arts Commission and his offer to create a piece of art which the entire community could enjoy. The City provided funding for materials used in the project. He recently appeared in the City’s continuing series of videos which feature members of the community sharing their reasons for choosing West Chicago as a community in which to live, work and thrive. The video can be viewed on the City’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/CityofWestChicago.
Classically trained in the study of painting and art history at Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, and a graduate of the University of Iowa with an MFA in painting, Buddy Plumlee’s experience working with the mosaic medium spans the past 14 years. “Most of the mosaics I have created have been for private residences. The largest mosaic mural I created was for Pathway Connections Childcare and Early Learning in Lisle, Il. I consider myself a painter first, working primarily in oil on canvas. I do enjoy the process of the mosaic medium, though it can be very tedious if a lot of detail is involved. But the results are always stunning. A mosaic piece, especially of a larger dimension, takes on a life of its own and can be very engaging visually. It is a medium well suited for public art,” he explained.
This exciting piece of public art is sure to serve the community well, as it expresses pride in West Chicago’s identity and provides a point of interest and beauty for people walking on the pedestrian path or commuters traveling on the Metra line.