What’s that hiding in a St. Charles park? It’s more than a dozen statues that have made Mt. St. Mary Park their home for more than a decade.
Ever since a bronze turtle showed up in Mt. St. Mary Park in 2006, the St. Charles Park District’s Sculpture in the Park program has become part of a beloved tradition.
While 12 sculptures are permanently displayed around the park off Illinois Route 31 and Prairie Street, a handful of new, temporary sculptures show up every spring. Some eventually become permanent additions.
“Every fall and winter, and even St. Patrick’s Day, visitors will decorate some of the sculptures with scarves and holiday hats,” says Erika Young, PR and marketing manager for the St. Charles Park District. “The exhibit is loved by the entire community.”
Here’s a closer look at some of the permanent pieces on display all year long.
By the River’s Edge
By John Kobald, Meeker, Colo.
This bronze turtle started it all when John Kobald, son of local artist Ray Kobald, and a well-respected sculptor in his own right, played on his passion for the outdoors. This piece was donated by the Kobald family in 2006.
By Fred Klingelhofer, Des Plaines
This stainless steel and cedar sculpture was purchased by the Park District with assistance from St. Charles Township in 2016. Some people refer to it as the “mini-bean,” for the shiny ball at this sculpture’s center and its resemblance to the famous statue in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
By Jane L. Davidson, St. Charles
The Park District was about to remove this sculpture from its seasonal display in 2015 when the artist fell ill. Her dying wish was for the piece to become part of the park’s permanent collection.
By Victor Nelson, Evanston
When this powder-coated steel sculpture was acquired by the Park District with assistance from the St. Charles Township in 2015, it brought much-welcomed color and attracted visitors to the south end of the park, where it’s now surrounded by a lush landscape.
Maple Leaf Bench
By Jo Krajkiewcz, Grandville, Mich.
Cut from steel, this sculpture was featured in the Park District’s 2014 annual exhibit and was commissioned by a family who lives near the park. The leaf reminded the family of their autumn travels in Europe. They donated it to the park district’s permanent collection, ensuring all visitors can enjoy a slice of the season.
By Kimber Fiebiger, Minneapolis, Minn.
Acquired by the Park District in 2013 with help from St. Charles Township, this bronze Humpty Dumpty lookalike is one of the most iconic sculptures in the permanent collection. He became so popular during his seasonal debut that the Park District purchased him and installed a sidewalk for visitors who want to take pictures with him.
Color of the Day
By Dennis Franzen, Hanover Park
This steel collection of geographic shapes reflects brilliant colors as the sun rises and sets. The artist was so in love with the way his piece looked in the park that he donated it to the Park District in October 2011.
I’ve Been Kissed
By Pokey Park, Tucson, Ariz.
Located next to a pond, this bronze frog was part of the 2010 annual exhibit and was the first kid-friendly sculpture purchased by the Park District.
By Ray Kobald, St. Charles
Renowned for his paintings and sculptures as well as his instruction of young artists, this St. Charles native set out to create large fruit in metalworks. The 34-inch bronze fruit that now sits in St. Charles was, as he told Park District staff, a nice-looking pear.
By Michele Moushey Dale, Stoughton, Wis.
The sculptor attended the Catholic school that once sat upon what’s now Mt. St. Mary Park. This bronze sculpture harkens back to her childhood memories of observing wildlife around the school and the nearby Fox River.
By Bruce Niemi, Kenosha, Wis.
This stainless steel sculpture was the Park District’s first purchase after “By River’s Edge” and was selected in part because of the way it stands out against the backdrop of nature. The sculpture has become an appealing accent for weddings in the park.
Six Finned Rocket
By Howard Russo, St. Charles
Introduced in the 2017 annual exhibit, this fabricated steel rocket was purchased by the Lando Family Foundation in memory of the late Adam Lander, who died unexpectedly in March 2009. He enjoyed many afternoons feeding ducks and riding his bike in the park.