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Local

Six-foot-tall sculpture planned for new plaza in downtown St. Charles

'Be You' sculpture would be displayed as part of First Street project

ST. CHARLES – By next spring, a six-foot-tall sculpture spelling out the phrase "Be You" could be the featured artwork in a new plaza under construction in downtown St. Charles.

Aldermen on the St. Charles City Council's Government Operations Committee on Monday unanimously voted to move forward with the concept. The sculpture, which will be made of recycled plastic, will be placed in the new East Plaza/Riverwalk under construction as part of the First Street project.

Representatives from the St. Charles Business Alliance talked to aldermen about plans for the sculpture. The Alliance has already received support from the St. Charles Arts Council for the sculpture.

As Alliance marketing manager Alyssa Feulner told aldermen, the Alliance has been working with Chicago-based artist Matthew Hoffman, an artist known for positive/inspirational art installations.

"Matthew has collaborated with many big companies, including Apple, Marriott and Facebook, to install positive public art inside their establishments," she said.

She noted that people seek out his artwork.

"On his website, he has an interactive map of everywhere that his art is located so you can find and also travel to find his art pieces," Feulner said. "We believe that by having one of his pieces in downtown St. Charles, that it will have a positive economic impact and help create even more economic activity in our downtown."

Several years ago, Hoffman started a project called You Are Beautiful. According to his website, that message has reached every corner of the globe, with more than 5 million stickers stating that phrase shared by the community.

"Be You is kind of a take off of Beautiful," Feulner said. "He saw how beautiful our downtown was and how beautiful the river is. And also it's about being yourself and being true to you."

The "Be You" sculpture is seven feet wide, six feet tall and three feet deep and will be completely made out of a recyclable plastic, she said. The sculpture will weigh more than 1,500 pounds, but also can be lifted onto a pallet or flat cart to be moved.

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