The happy ending is, “good things come to those who wait.”  However, most of this story is, “when it rains, it pours.”

To those businesses who purchased sponsoring images in the Oak Park River Forest “community montage,” your prints are finally ready.  If you even remember, that is, since you committed to the project last year.

A “community montage” is an illustration that includes various points of interest, businesses and noteworthy figures that represent a specific place.  They range from colorful cartoonish tourist maps to more realistic renderings created as keepsakes.

Community Creations is the father-daughter business from Columbus, Ohio that set out last summer to create a high-end pen-and-ink montage of Oak Park and River Forest.  Their business model is simple: they sell “sponsorships” to individual businesses that want to appear in the artwork. The drawing also features local public sites and attractions which are included free of charge.  Each sponsor receives five prints. Additional prints are donated to the Chamber, the Visitors Center and the History Museum, to distribute throughout the community however we choose.

Simple enough.  Sponsor sales went well, though the timeline stretched longer than anticipated.  After a few months, one thousand prints arrived at the Chamber Office. Beautiful, with one exception:  Oak Forest High School.

Now, while any typo is unacceptable, incorrectly portraying our iconic high school just won’t fly.  That kicked off weeks of negotiation over remaking the art and at whose cost. In the meantime, our sales rep, the daughter, switched careers.  Her father retired. The artist shipped the new prints to the wrong place. The Chamber was called upon to be an unexpected distribution point right in the midst of  golf outing preparations. What should have been weeks turned into months and ultimately a year-long project.

Happily, the wait is over.  The artwork is beautiful and the prints are ready for sponsors to pick up.  We’ll be working with the History Museum and Visitors Center to decide how best to distribute the rest of artwork to the public.  They’ll make lovely wall hangings, client gifts or auction prizes. Look for information before the holidays on how to purchase one.

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...