Warrenville Then & Now Featuring Warrenville Inspired Artist, Paté Conaway

It is a testament to the community that Warrenville has many historic buildings still standing.  Many of these historic structures were built during the early and mid 1800s as Warrenville was being settled.  Thanks to the Warren Tavern Preservationists, the Warren Tavern has been preserved, although it no longer stands where Colonel Julius Warren constructed it as the town’s stagecoach stop in 1838.

Colonel Warren opened his Tavern with a grand ball on September 28, 1838.  Over the next 174 years the building served many purposes including the home of the DuPage County Democratic Convention in 1839, a hotel, a dance hall and a private home.

In 1989 a new owner started planning the destruction of the building, however a group of concerned citizens formed the Warren Tavern Preservationists and moved the Tavern from the northwest corner of Warrenville Road and Winfield Road, to its current home at 3S540 Second Street next to the museum in Leone Schmidt Heritage Park.  The Tavern is safely located in this historic park, while Walgreens now sits on the Tavern’s former home.

Warrenville Inspired artist Paté Conaway played on this and other local histories in his work that used Warrenville’s images to question the notions of place and how people change landscapes.  We hope you will enjoy seeing Paté’s creations inspired by the history of the Tavern and the shifting of Warrenville’s landscape.

Artist Statement

“One of the ways I find inspiration for my work is to go into institutions – specifically nursing homes –and have the residents show me how to do things. There are many creative retired individuals that are open and willing to share their knowledge and skills. I have learned knitting, crocheting, embroidery, woodworking, and sewing.  I see these crafts as languages, and my job as an artist is to explore the translations. One of the questions that I like to ask is: where is the line between craft and art?

“My current work stems from learning to sew.  I spent three months volunteering in a nursing home in Charlotte, North Carolina. A wonderful woman there taught me how to sew – we made shirts and jackets. I started to notice sewn objects and having found a life preserver in a thrift store, I decided to reinterpret the object. Using traditional garment construction, I have abandoned the “international orange” and began making life preservers out of fabric, leather, seed cloth, etc. These sculptures have become portraits. Instead of the traditional paint on canvas or a clay bust, I’m using an inanimate object – a standard life vest – to reflect character and narrative. My goal is to fabricate 100; currently I am on number 48.”

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