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Naperville Park District Recognized for Excellence in Arts

The Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) honored the Naperville Park District for excellence in its community arts programs at IAPD’s annual awards gala in Wheeling on Friday, October 13.

Winning second place in the competition for the Helen Doria Arts in the Park Award, the Naperville Park District arts programming was recognized for its long-term commitment to providing affordable, accessible high-quality arts programs and public art for the community through partnerships with area artists, businesses and organizations.

According to IAPD’s description of the award, the Arts in the Park Award “is named in memory of Helen Doria, who dedicated her career to creating a space for the arts in Chicago’s parks.” The 2017 nominations for the award were judged by Arts Alliance Illinois.

Program Manager Brittany Malatt and Director of Recreation Brad Wilson accepted the award for the Naperville Park District. Malatt has encouraged innovation in the District’s arts programs, working with creative instructors to develop new programs like Hip Hop/Jazz Fusion and Glass-on Glass Mosaic Art to provide more diverse offerings for the community.

Naperville Park District offers programs for all ages in dance, theater, music, visual art and media, such as pottery, woodcarving and film-making. Additionally, the District partners with area businesses to offer free outdoor concerts and theater in parks during the summer. Performing for audiences in Naperville and in the Chicago area, the District’s Élan Dance Company provides artistically challenging experiences for young dancers in a collaborative atmosphere. The District’s Magical Starlight Theatre program involves entire families in great community theater led by volunteers who collectively give 8,000 hours annually and perform for audiences of 3,000+.

Other agency awards presented at the IAPD awards gala included awards for intergovernmental cooperation, partnership and best green practices.

“It was great to see the different park districts support their communities in many ways,” said Malatt.


Connect your business’s brand with a well-known and respected one like the Naperville Park District’s and reach a large, active and diverse audience.

To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities contact
Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at

Looking for an opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives while building a fun and dynamic career? Consider the Naperville Park District! It takes all kinds of skills, knowledge and talent to serve the recreation needs of the Naperville community. If you’re passionate about the outdoors, staying active, having fun and encouraging others to do the same, then check out our part-time and full-time career opportunities.


Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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