With the sun brightly shining and trains quickly rolling through downtown Brookfield, the village’s Beautification Commission happily welcomed the community to its dedication ceremony last Saturday afternoon of its newly erected memorial sculpture at the Brookfield train station’s taxi stand.
The statue, titled “Prairie Spirit,” stands 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide and features two dragonflies (made of carbon steel and plated with zinc and nickel) hovering over prairie grass blades made of stainless steel.
A mosaic base will soon be added around the sculpture, which is flanked by two small benches and two red maple trees. The sculpture was inspired by the logo of the Brookfield Beautification Commission, which was created by Commissioner Linda Dunbar.
However, what made the dedication special was the fact that the new sculpture was erected in memory of the late Al Kitzer, a longtime Brookfield resident and the village’s former public works director, who died in 2012.
The sculpture, which is the committee’s second village art project, was dedicated in Kitzer’s memory for his years of dedication to the village both as an employee and active volunteer with the Brookfield Beautification Commission.
Several years ago, Kitzer, along with his wife, Maureen, and daughter, Shannon, volunteered to take care of the taxi stand area as a part of Brookfield’s Adopt-A-Spot initiative.
“I told him [volunteering with Adopt-A-Spot] was something I was interested in, and he actually steered me in the direction of this,” Shannon Kitzer said. “He thought that it was a town focal point.”
Shannon spoke at the memorial, thanking both the commission for the dedication and Brookfield residents for their continued moral support.
“I think it looks beautiful and I can’t think of anything else in Brookfield that’s like this,” she said. “It’s pretty unique and I think it speaks to the direction the Brookfield Beautification Committee … is looking to take things in.”
Brookfield resident and sculptor Paul Russell, who was commissioned to create the piece, was also on hand at the ceremony to thank the village for the opportunity.
Dunbar, a member of the commission, was pleased with the turnout of the dedication and said it speaks volumes about the love that Brookfield has for both Al Kitzer and his family and towards the mission of beautifying the village.
“[We had] more people than expected come out today,” Dunbar said. “The name of this sculpture, ‘Prairie Spirit,’ seems to be at work with this project. I’m very happy with today.”
While Dunbar says the Brookfield Beautification Commission does not have plans right now for another memorial project, the organization is chock-full of ideas and plans to bring more art to Brookfield throughout the year.
“Our next project we’ll be introducing this summer is a kinetic sculpture project and that’s going to be near this area,” she said. “[Soon], we’re going to be putting a call out for artists.”
Shannon Kitzer said she was proud to speak about her father’s legacy at the dedication, adding that the sculpture is exactly the type of project that her father would have hoped could bring Brookfield together in fellowship to reflect on what makes the village so special.
“There is a lot of nature in Brookfield that we could do more to enhance, and it’s really about focusing and seeing the beauty in our everyday life and community,” Kitzer said. “That was something that was really important to my dad.”