Ten fire truck sculptures are public art in Park Ridge.

The Park Ridge Public Art Exhibit this summer will delight kids, and kids at heart, with painted sculptures of fire trucks scattered in prominent locations around town.

The 10 brightly decorated fiberglass truck models, large enough for youngsters to climb inside, are on display until October 7 and showcase the talents of local artists.

“They’re so popular,” Brian Lazzaro, vice president of the Park Ridge Historical Society, said of the “Fire Trucks on Parade” exhibit. “So many children are above them and around them.”

Members of the Park Ridge Historical Society attempted to redeem a vintage 1934 fire truck, nicknamed “Lil’ Pirsch,” leading to artistic facsimiles of the vehicle all over town.

The Historical Society obtained Lil’ Pirsch from the Memphis Fire Department two years ago, displaying the vintage fire truck during this year’s Memorial Day Parade. So when the creative idea was born for the sculptures exhibited at key sites in the city, a fire truck first came to mind for historians.

“When we first bought Lil’ Pirsch, we thought, wouldn’t it be cool to put fire trucks around town, like cows?” recalled Cheryl Williams, president of the historical society.

The search for Williams and Lazzaro was not long. They found Cowpainters LLC, a company in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, whose website advertises some 350 models of animals and fiberglass objects. Cowpainters had a mold for a fire truck, Williams said, and the project was on.

A red replica of Lil’ Pirsch was placed outside the Triple Scoop’d ice cream shop on Devon Avenue with longtime Franklin School art teacher Kathy Hurley the artist. Hurley also teamed up with husband Peadar Hurley and friend Mary Ann Tunnell to paint royal blue and affix woodworking – Peadar Hurley’s specialty – to the truck outside Starbucks to honor Park Ridge artists. . One of the artists commemorated was Grant Wood of “American Gothic” fame.

Other Truck and Artist locations are Park Ridge History Center (Aiden Gentile), Pickwick Theater (Abby Pinkerton), Trader Joe’s Parking Lot (Miranda Randel), St. Paul of the Cross Church (Jill Pinsky), Metra Station (Randel), Hodges Park (Mark Zimmerman), Public Library (Alayna McKim), and Centennial Park (Michelle Krause).

In addition to the classic Lil’ Pirsch red color, the trucks all had depictions of history painted in their locations with links to the historical society’s website. The artists had a lot of leeway with their performances.

“I just said put the history on the trucks and they went with it,” Williams said.

Triple Scoop’d didn’t have a specific story angle. “But they helped us with the Santa Claus event at Christmas and served hot chocolate to those in attendance,” Lazzaro said.

Pinkerton, just 18 and a lifelong resident of Park Ridge, had a simple depiction of the Pickwick on her truck. She painted dandruff on the body.

“It was fun and cool, and a great opportunity,” she said. “I’m honored. It was a challenge. I used acrylic paint.

Pinkerton is not yet pursuing art as a career. A graduate of Loyola Academy, she enrolled in biomedical engineering studies at the University of Miami. But she had experience painting the monthly signs and the stars of the TeaLula tea shop.

For Hurley, an art teacher for 32 years at Franklin School, the two trucks were an opportunity to show her students that she was a performer as well as an instructor.

“It’s great to make art,” she said. Hurley painted a few dials inside Lil’ Pirsch’s model “so kids can pretend to drive.”

Such a tactic was targeted.

After the trucks complete their runs in October, they will be auctioned off with the beneficiary historical society, Williams said.

Dolly McCarthy of Stroll Park Ridge magazine partnered with the historical society, reaching out to local sponsors. Each truck cost $1,200.

“We asked the sponsors for $2,500 each, with the proceeds going to the historical society,” Williams said.