I had the pleasure of discovering the Woodstock Mural and Sculpture Garden on my recent trip over to the Woodstock Farmers Market. While it isn’t new, it was new to me, and perhaps it is new to you as well. When we head to the Woodstock Historic Square area, we often park along the square when possible, or south of the Woodstock Opera House, so I wasn’t familiar with the Main Street Pedway or the (note to self) parking lot at the other end of the pedway.
The Woodstock on Film and on the Stage Mural was completed in under a year in 2017. A truly amazing feat to realize in such a short period of time! Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes videos below to truly understand how miraculous this was. The concept for the mural came from City Councilman RB Thompson, which was ultimately designed and produced by Michael Stanard, of One Zero Charlie. Mark J. Adamany, of Adamany Art & Design of Rockford, IL was the mural artist who transferred the design onto the wall and painted the mural.
The mural is the largest and most visible portion, but the far end (from the Main St. entrance) features the Sculpture Garden portion. Here is where the 3/4-sized Orson Welles statue is featured as well as the woodcarving sculpture of Woodstock Willie, along with several commemorative plaques.
The Orson Welles sculpture was actually created by Woodstock resident, Bobby Joe Scribner. No average resident though, Mr. Scribner developed the figurative sculpture program at the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he teaches. The Welles sculpture was then cast in bronze by Jeff Adams of inBronze foundry of Mount Morris, Illinois. The Welles sculpture was the final piece to be added and was officially dedicated in April of 2018.
The Woodstock Willie sculpture however was created in perhaps the most appropriate material possible…wood. Michael Bihlmaier of Marengo was the woodcarver who brought Willie’s likeness to life for the Sculpture Garden.
I highly recommend stopping by the Woodstock Mural and Sculpture Garden the next time you are in downtown Woodstock. Less than a block north of the Historic Square on Main Street, or south out of the Woodstock Metra Station parking lot. Be sure to check out the commemorative plaques as they provide great historical background on everything that is featured, from Chester Gould’s “Dick Tracy,” to the famous stars who have appeared at the Woodstock Opera House, to the infamous Orson Welles, to the much-beloved “Groundhog Day” movie, which was filmed in Woodstock.