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Neighbors of Kane County

Guy J. Bellaver public art sculpture “The Key” dedicated

Jul 10, 2018 11:36AM

Guy J. Bellaver’s commemorative sculpture, "The Key".

July 9, 2018, St. Charles, Illinois – Guy J. Bellaver’s commemorative sculpture entitled The Key, has been installed and dedicated. It is sited along the West bank of the Riverwalk, immediately south of Indiana Street, in St. Charles, Illinois.  The sculpture was commissioned by The Gratitude Project – Public Art From the Community To the Community…in Gratitude, in cooperation with the St Charles Arts Council.  It is in Gratitude to Sharon and Vern Oie.

Dr. C. Alfred Patten, project organizer, welcomed nearly 100 guests to the dedication.  During his speech Patten gave the gift of the sculpture to Mayor Ray Rogina, along with the obligatory bottle of Tide – which Patten called the “soap of choice for these things”.  Also speaking were sculptor Guy J. Bellaver, former City Administrator Larry Maholland (acknowledging Vern Oie’s Contribution), former City Mayor Sue Klinkhamer (acknowledging Sharon Oie’s Contribution), Mayor Ray Rogina (accepting the gift), both Vern and Sharon Oie and Elizabeth Bellaver of the St Charles Arts Council, who encouraged participants to download the Otocast App (part of the SCAC’s Art in Public Places project) and played a portion of The Key’s story of the Oies’ vision for the city, as told by Sharon Oie.  A short video of the giving of the gift is on the Gratitude Project website.  Download the Otocast App, Tap on St. Charles, IL/Art in Public Places, Tap on the image of The Key and hit the Play button.

The Oies expressed their love of St. Charles and their pleasure at having one of Bellaver’s sculptures created in their honor and gracing their beloved downtown and Riverwalk. They have pronounced the sculpture “beautiful”.  The complete Artist Statement is reproduced in this release, and can also be found on the Gratitude Project web site.

Visit for images of the sculpture and

information about the project.  More information about Sculpture/Guy J. Bellaver may be found on the artist’s web site – and– as well as a complete Portfolio of his work.

Artists’ Statement for The Key: This sculpture is about vision. The Key’s circular section focuses the eye, to draw it through the piece, suggesting a keyhole that can be peered through or opened to what lies within and beyond, and the key that can be metaphorically inserted in that keyhole representing one’s vision.  LED lighting behind the glass framing draws the eye to the keyhole. 

Vern and Sharon Oie have long been noted for their vision for St. Charles. They have been instrumental in the founding and functioning of organizations such as the Downtown St. Charles Partnership and the River Corridor Foundation.  As a couple, they have won the Charlemagne, Barth, and Golden Turtle Awards.  

The two-piece design represents a couple who have worked together to make St. Charles a better place – one that celebrates community and the joy of nature and art.  The pieces are painted with a color palette that is both vibrant and subtle, celebrating the vibrancy of volunteerism and the subtleness of the sculpture’s natural surroundings.

The Key is sited along the Riverwalk in an orientation that allows the keyhole shape to frame a segment of the Fox River or the Riverwalk environment, both of which are near and dear to the Oies’ hearts. 

About the Gratitude Project: Dr. C. Alfred Patten (Gratitude Project creator and sculpture project manager) is the force behind the Gratitude Project, whose purpose is to express the community’s gratitude, through the medium of public art, to the volunteers and leaders who have given so much of themselves to and for the city of St. Charles.  He explains the genesis of the Project.  “I am motivated by a desire to create a culture of gratitude in St. Charles.  Gratitude is a very powerful emotion.  It causes people to want to do things for others and their community.  Healthy communities express gratitude in many ways, like the outpouring of gratitude for veterans, such as the (St Charles Arts Council’s) Celebrating Veterans event or businesses offering free meals or haircuts.  We have chosen public art as our means of expressing gratitude.”  

Patten was also the creator and Project Manager for the reflections public art project (, the stated intention of which was to “honor volunteerism, as exemplified by Max and Doris Hunt”.  He says that he feels as though he took the public art “mantle” from Sharon Oie, and so decided to start another project to show the community’s gratitude to Sharon and her husband Vern Oie, long-time residents and active volunteers in St. Charles.

Patten felt that the Gratitude Project was not only a good idea for the new Oie sculpture project, but would also be in the lineage of the sculptures of Colonel Baker and Dellora Norris (projects for which Sharon Oie was the driving force).  These four sculptures, as well as the piece If I Could But Fly (dedicated to Bob Leonard) all share the common bond and motivation of community gratitude.

Larry Maholland, former St. Charles City Administrator and current volunteer for the River Corridor Foundation and the Oie sculpture project committee, said “When people value its architecture, history, public art, and traditions, a town becomes a community.” 

Oie project committee members are Jim Breen, Diana Brown, Jim Enck, Heide Hughes, Doris Hunt, Steve Hunt, Sue Klinkhamer, Larry Maholland, David Oie, Al Patten, and Guy Bellaver.   Supporting the project are the St Charles Arts Council, the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, and the River Corridor Foundation.

The Key project was done in partnership with the St Charles Arts Council. Major funding came from Al and Maurine Patten, the Downtown St. Charles Partnership and the River Corridor Foundation.  Thanks to the Pattens and these organizations and the City for their assistance and support.

About Guy J. Bellaver and Sculpture:

After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Mr. Bellaver earned a B.A. in Economics from Saint Vincent College. He has worked as a sculptor full time since 1975. He has pursued graduate studies in art at the master’s level at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and Northern Illinois University, as well as The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He is a current member of Chicago Sculpture International and the International Sculpture Center, and a past member of Chicago Artist’s Coalition, Dupage Art League, Fox Valley Arts Council, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Texas Society of Sculptors and South Hills Art League.

Mr. Bellaver is one of the Founders of the St Charles Arts Council, a member of the St. Charles Park District’s Sculpture in the Park Committee, and a member of the St. Charles Rotary Club’s Board. He has served as a Commission Member (by appointment) to the City of St. Charles’ Visitors and Cultural Commission, past President of the St. Charles Rotary Club and Foundation, past Chairman of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership’s Public Art Committee and a past member of the Community Unit School District 303 School Board.

Mr. Bellaver is an inductee into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame.

Sculpture/Guy J. Bellaver is a Verified Veteran Owned Small Business.