Sometimes the sparks are modest. That's when you need the hands-cupped nurturing, the small cheers, the "let's pay some attention here" to the good people creating the modest sparks.
And so, this week we call out Elaine Luther, a Forest Park artist, and Alicia Hammond, the community engagement librarian at the Forest Park Library (Yep, who knew we had one of those?). Together, and with others, they've installed the fun and summery four-foot letters spelling out "EXPLORE" on the library's front lawn.
Luther would say it is a modest breakthrough in a village where public art — murals, sculpture, etc. — has not yet caught on. We think it can and should. Public art adds dimension and definition to a town, it surprises, delights, sometimes baffles observers.
But to make public art you need a public partner and kudos to the library for stepping up to see the possibilities. We'd step back and offer a longer view that our library has, in recent years, become a significantly more interesting, more connected, more connecting place.
Our news report on the art installation mentions this summer's outreach efforts, which include a bike repair workshop, a trivia night at the Beacon and a "pop up" library over the weekend at Music Fest. But we'd also point to the determined efforts in recent years to engage our local teens in activities that go far beyond the silent reading of Jane Eyre. We'd point to the investments in making the library a technology hub for residents.
As the world becomes more digital, some have wondered and worried over the future of libraries. If you confine your thinking to pages between hard covers, you might think the future is dim. But see your local library as the connector and the curator and the efforts of the Forest Park Library to redefine itself come into clearer focus.
Frank Pusavc Drive
Among Forest Park's many charms are the small businesses, often locally owned, that have provided essential services over decades, that offered those services with a care and a friendliness that is pretty much lost in the wider world.
So while it is a nice thing to have a "greeter" at the door to the gargantuan Walmart it really doesn't compare to the experience so many of us shared walking into Frank's Shoe Repair up until its closing last year shortly after the death of Frank Pusavc.
Frank ran the business for 60 years, after inheriting a family business started by his grandfather in Forest Park exactly 100 years ago.
Last week members of the Pusavc family gathered with village officials and friends to watch as a portion of Marengo Avenue was designated as honorary "Frank A. Pusavc Drive." Pusavc had been raised in the family house on Marengo.
Such honors, too, would count among Forest Park's charms.