Wilmette Art Talk
Last week I revisited The Great Wilmette Clock from Generacion lll in Zacatlan, Mexico in its new home at the Wilmette Jr HS. Wilmette Arts Guild’s generous patron, Dick Davis, arranged for the clock to be made especially for Wilmette. This would help the economy of Zacatlan and provide an interesting and useful work of art for Wilmette. When the Wilmette Arts Guild approached him over a year ago, Superintendant of Schools Ray Lechner said, “Yes, we want that clock!” Principal Dave Palzet and his staff have done excellent work, setting it in an alcove of windows so that it can be seen inside and outside. A handsome glass and wood case made by the staff protects the gears and hands of the clock from curious fingers and vice versa. This 9’ X 5’, spectacular mechanical clock with gears, bells and pendulums help our children to realize that “TIME” is a process, but also that mechanical objects are beautiful. There are only three of these clocks in the United States. One is at the Lodi World of Wonders and the other is the San Francisco Planetarium.
On this visit Dick Davis particularly wanted to meet WJHS teacher Eric Willson who received the Dick Davis Encouragement Award for his classes’ work on preserving the culture of Wilmette today through their photographs. This award goes to the teacher rather than a particular student. It was presented at the WAG AWARDS in March.
I pointed out to these eager young faces that Dick is over seventy, I am almost seventy, Peter Nussbaum, our master photographer was in his middle eighties, WAG VP Barbara Roseman is in her sixties and all of us are still learning and using many of the skills we first encountered in junior high school! Dick remarked that his family was always very short of money, so he began working after school in Jr. High School. Eventually he said he discovered he had a talent for investing. This led to funding many adventures including losing the keys to his airplane on the Mongolian Steppe and having to be rescued by United Airlines, accidentally being locked into the Louvre and being arrested at Lourdes! (The judge believed that he meant no disrespect!) All this is just part of being Dick Davis. Quoting Joseph Campbell to the children, he urged each of them to “Follow your bliss.” He has for sure! We have all benefitted.
Ray Lechner summed it up best, “No other Junior High School in the United States has this wonderful clock and all the experiences that go with it, including knowing Dick Davis.” WAG and Dave Palzet continue to develop an Interdisciplinary Curriculum with the clock and “TIME” as its focus. When this is completed, it will be translated into other languages and go all over the world with the other clocks from Generacion lll. Dick Davis is thrilled how Wilmette handled the Clock, and has now offered his favorite village a monumental sculpture from Loveland, Colorado! Where shall we put it?