‘Be Uncommon’ sculpture to be unveiled at Geneva Commons – all helping a good cause

Geneva Commons, in support of the local nonprofit Rising Lights Project, will unveil a sculpture by Chicago-based artist Matthew Hoffman on Oct. 29, just in time for special Halloween programming, according to a news release from the shopping center.

The sculpture is perfect for selfies that will raise money for the cause from the shopping center, which also plans a sensory-friendly event.

The 8-foot tall “Be Uncommon” sculpture will be installed on a green space at the shopping center. The artwork is a play on Geneva Commons’ name, and “aims to empower individuals to be more accepting and embrace the uncommon,” the release stated.

“For me, nothing is more important than public art. Anyone can come across it, and it can stop them in their tracks and completely change their mindset. It’s my life’s work,” Hoffman said in the release. “I can’t wait to see people interacting with this piece, kids playing on it, people posing or just sharing a conversation with each other while sitting on it. It’s made for the community, and I hope it acts as a catalyst for connection.”

The Rising Lights Project, which was founded by Elburn resident Jaimie Valentini, provides inclusive environments and vocational training for individuals affected by disability.

The sculpture will be unveiled to the public Friday, Oct. 29, which is when Geneva Commons will launch a social media campaign in support of Rising Lights Project’s mission to increase awareness, education and create new opportunities to keep those with disabilities engaged and connected, the release stated.

“Rising Lights Project is proud to partner with Geneva Commons to further educate and impact the need of disability inclusivity in the Tri-Cities area,” Valentini said in the release. “We are hopeful that this partnership will open opportunities for those impacted by disability, and that our communities will embrace, empower, accept and see the beauty in the uncommon.”

Geneva Commons will donate $2 to Rising Lights Project for every photo taken in front of the sculpture that is posted to social media tagging Geneva Commons with the hashtag #BeUncommonGeneva. The campaign will run through Dec. 31.

The shopping center also will host a special Halloween Experience in partnership with Rising Lights Project and My Recess Therapy to offer sensory-friendly and accessible activities. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.

Guests are encouraged to dress in costume and can participate in trunk-or-treating, a classic car show, pumpkin painting, a therapeutic animal experience provided by Happy Hooves Therapeutic Farm, and meet local children’s book authors Lenni, Libbi and Mike Schrettenbruner and Anitra Rowe Schulte.

“As a destination that aims to always serve as a community hub for the Tri-Cities area, we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with a like-minded organization like Rising Lights Project to provide an inclusive environment where individuals with disabilities can learn, laugh and engage with the broader community,” Cathy Charhut, general manager of Geneva Commons, said in the release. “We look forward to expanding on our partnership throughout the year, and helping the community around us better understand and fully embrace inclusivity.”

For information on the shopping center, visit shopgenevacommons.com.