Art in the library

When the 1501 Ellinwood Street building was constructed in 2000, the library board wanted to integrate public art throughout the building. Residents and local organizations donated money to fund sculptures, murals and other installations in the building. Each floor has at least one major piece for the public to enjoy.

First Floor

The hallway that runs adjacent to the Meeting Rooms is adorned with an 80 foot long acrylic mural of classic children's stories painted in panels by Robert Jessup.This mural was updated by the artist in 2016. 

Detail of the Robert Jessup mural

The lobby provides an excellent view looking upward at "Skyword", the hanging holographic sculpture created by Kristina Lucas and Michael Hayden. This husband and wife team are also responsible for the renowned neon sculpture at O'Hare's United terminal.

Skyword hanging sculpture

In 2004, the Friends of the Library celebrated their 50th anniversary by donating a bronze sculpture of the young Abraham Lincoln to reside in the lobby.

Young Lincoln Learning statue

Second Floor

In the northeast corner of the floor, a peaceful Poet Tree was the generous individual donation of the Hubbard family, Douglas, Maxine and Douglas Jr., in memory of their daughter Rebecca Mae. 

Poet Tree donated by the Hubbard Family

Also on the second floor, in the Administration Offices, is a mixed media installation by Joe Walters, featuring the animals and plants of Illinois.

Joe Walters sculpture

Third Floor

The Reader's Services floor hosts a rotating exhibit of painting and photography by members of the Des Plaines Art Guild in the northwest corner. On the south wall, behind the information desk, resides a computer generated mural by artist Pae White. This mural was created with the same material used to "wrap" a city bus.

Detail of the Pae White mural

A smaller, companion piece to Skyword hangs between the third and second floor by the north windows.

Dozens of original works by Des Plaines artists are available to the community to check out for eight weeks at a time. These framed pieces can be browsed in the northeast corner of the third floor or viewed online in the library catalog. 

Fourth Floor

The Reference floor holds "Look Up", a sculptural installation by Evanston artist Fred Nagelbach in the northwest corner above and by the windows. The objects represent all the tools of literature and the mind. 

Detail of the Fred Nagelbach installation