Naperville Art: Faith, Hope and Charity
The trouble with murals is that when the wall goes, so does the mural. Planning ahead, the 40th piece in the Century Walk art collection was painted on a removable board that was taken down a couple of years ago and recently re-installed.
“Faith, Hope and Charity” was sponsored by Euclid Lodge 65, the Naperville chapter of Freemasons, and first unveiled in 2011 on the west wall of Russell’s Dry Cleaners. But after 50 years in business, Russell Breitwieser retired in 2017. The building needed to be torn down, so the Masons put the mural in storage. The outdoor outfitter, Filson, opened in that space this past September, but without the mural.
Naperville’s Euclid Lodge was founded on October 2, 1849, which means they just celebrated their 170th anniversary last month. In honor of the occasion, they held an open house at their headquarters and rededicated the mural at its new location. You can now find “Faith, Hope and Charity” on the south wall of the Gap on Main Street.
The mural was painted by artist Marianne Lisson Kuhn. Kuhn, who was born and raised in Naperville, is a familiar sight in the local art community. Other Century Walk art pieces she created are “Naperville Loves a Parade,” “World’s Greatest Artists” and “The Way We Were.” She has also painted several of the fiberglass sculptures that are part of the downtown scene every summer.
“Faith, Hope and Charity” depicts George Washington and Joseph Naper wearing their Masonic aprons as well as many other symbols of the Scottish rite.
On Washington’s side of the painting are listed notable Masons such as Winston Churchill, Wolfgang Mozart and Theodore Roosevelt. On Naper’s side are listed local notable Masons such as James Nichols, Lewis Ellsworth and Willard Scott. The first Worshipful Master from 1848, Keith Aylmer, is not listed and others on the list were not Masters at all.
Behind Naper, Kuhn painted the current lodge meeting hall. The Masons built it in 1916-17 after outgrowing several of their earlier halls. Before 1977, the first floor housed the Naper Theater and the Naperville Running Company currently operates out of the space. During the mural rededication, the hall was open for visitors to tour and ask questions of the members.
Other places Euclid Lodge used to meet include the east part of Empire’s building, Blue Mercury (which was Starbucks until they moved across the street) and the La Sorella di Francesca building, among others. The group’s website features a nice history page with photos of the old locations and past Masters for further information.