The Fox River Valley Public Library District serves a diverse community of approximately 70,000 residents. As a longtime library worker, I am continuously impressed and inspired by the creativity and unique perspectives of our library patrons; whether visiting on-site at the Dundee and Randall Oaks Libraries or interacting at outreach events. It was this admiration that prompted us to host an art contest specifically celebrating the creativity of our diverse users.
We invited all residents of the library district to share an original work of art, in any medium, representing a vision of our diverse community. We were deeply gratified by the lovely, thoughtful works of art that were shared with us. After careful consideration, we are prepared to announce the winning submissions. Drop by the Dundee Library to spend some time with this work of art in-person!
The first-place winner of the Celebrate Diversity Art Contest is Dana Maynard-Tatge. Dana’s winning submission is entitled Patterns of the Land, a 1920s topographic map overlaid with patterns that represent cultural heritages of the region. Patterns of the Land will be displayed at the Dundee Library for one year, serving as a public celebration of the creativity of our diverse users. Additionally, Dana will be awarded one-year Member Plus access to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Dana, an interior designer, said that a previous visit to the library had sparked a return to watercolor art for her. “I picked up a book from the new releases shelf at the library. It was a book of botanical art, and I fell in love with the illustrations. It inspired me to get back into watercolors and art.”
Later, when the fall issue of the library newsletter arrived in her mailbox, Dana noticed the art contest information and thought it sounded interesting. The diversity angle of the contest stood out to Dana, who has lived in East Dundee for six years.
“We love it here. It’s a very diverse community. I notice that every time we visit the playground. There are people of all different ethnicities. When I saw the newsletter, I thought what can I do that’s different?”
Dana started diving into the history of who first came here, and what cultures live here now. She looked up population percentages, and the landscape.
“During my research I discovered the patterns of the Potawatomi. They are known for their patterns in beading and fabric, for example, and I just went from there. My project features a topographic map dated from 1925, overlaid with patterns from the different major heritages that have influenced our area,” said Dana. Following are Dana’s comments about the different patterns of her work:
Thompsons Creek/Jelke Forest Preserve: From what I find this is the location of the Native American village when settlers first arrived in the area. Here a Potawatomi pattern inspired by a glass bead, cloth, & thread bandolier bag ca. 1890 is shown.
East Side: A pattern reminiscent of the Gardiner clan tartan is shown on the east side of the Fox River. Alexander Gardiner named the town Dundee after his homeland in Scotland.
Carpentersville Area: A traditional Mexican textile pattern overlays this area, along with a Spanish floral pattern to represent our Hispanic community.
North: A Kente Cloth African pattern is used to represent our African American community.
Northwest: A traditional Asian sea pattern represents our Asian community.
West Dundee: A French Fleur De Lis symbolizes the French heritage seen in the architecture of this area.
West: A British traditional knit pattern represents the British families who settled this area in the early & mid 1800s.