Oak Park, IL— Re-Discovering Reginald Mars, a set of newly restored original paintings by Midwest artist Reginald Mars (1901-1973), will be on display in Oak Park Public Library's Main Library Art Gallery, 834 Lake St., Oak Park,Aug. 2 through Aug. 31. Mars' work has been part of the fabric of the Oak Park community since being installed in Park District of Oak Park's Ridgeland Common in 1963. Recently restored by local art conservation expert Timothy Lennon, this series by Mars will be celebrated at a reception, open to everyone, in the Main Library Art Gallery,Sunday, Aug. 3 from 3 to 5 pm.
In 1962, when local architect Jack Barclay designed the building at Ridgeland Common, Reginald Mars was commissioned to create a series of paintings depicting the activities of Oak Park and of the Park District's programs. Among the activities featured in the colorful paintings, which lined the walls of the Comstock Room, are swimming, diving, basketball, baseball, ice skating, hockey and curling. As time passed and the facilities were remodeled, the paintings were eventually put in storage.
In March 2011, the Park District of Oak Park's Art Advisory Committee began to raise funds to restore the paintings. The kick-off fundraising event at Pleasant Home brought together architect Jack Barclay and Oak Park art conservator Timothy Lennon, retired from the Art Institute of Chicago and later commissioned by the Park District to restore the paintings.
The Main Library Art Gallery is open seven days a week during regular hours. More information about Re-Discovering Reginald Mars, and art in the Library, can be found at oppl.org/art
About Reginald Mars
A long-time resident of Oak Park, Mars was a widely known Midwest artist when he died in 1973. Born in Petersburg, IL, Mars attended Peoria public schools before majoring in graphic arts at the University of Iowa, where he won prizes for his artwork at the Iowa State Fair. Locally, Mars served as President of the Oak Park Art League between 1962-1965.
About Oak Park Public Library
Founded as a public library in 1903, today Oak Park Public Library serves 53,000 residents through three building locations, offering fiction and nonfiction titles, audiobooks, ereaders, movies, music, video games, magazines, newspapers, public computers, free WiFi and local history information. Through oppl.org and a custom app, the library provides a librarian reference service, digital content including ebooks, audiobooks, music, and movies, online tools, continuing education courses, photo archives and more. The Main Library also is known for its impressive collection of permanent artwork, including pieces by local artists. For more information, call 708.383.8200 or visit http://oppl.org
About the Park District of Oak Park
The Park District of Oak Park, created in 1912, serves the recreational needs of the 53,000 residents of Oak Park, providing over 3,000 recreation programs and special events annually. Overseen by a Board of five elected officials, the District owns an Administrative Center, two outdoor pools, an indoor ice rink, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion, Pleasant Home, a gymnastics center, seven recreation centers plus 13 parks totaling 80 acres of parkland. In partnership with the community, the Park District enriches lives by providing meaningful experiences through programs, parks and facilities. Learn more at pdop.org
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