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  • Writer's pictureLynne Kornecki

New "Eternal Flame" Sculpture Completes the Batavia Cemetery's Columbarium Section in Batavia, IL

During installation, sculptor Chad La Fever poses with his winning 9-foot design. Scroll down for more photos...

After a lengthy search for an inspired sculptor to create a thoughtful monument for the Batavia Cemetery’s columbarium, Chad La Fever’s “Eternal Flame” was one of three finalists that was ultimately selected by popular public vote. The sculpture was installed in late April 2024.


“It is an abstract flame,” he says. “The general idea is that it represents the memories we have for our loved ones who have passed away that we carry in our hearts like a flame. I wanted the sculpture to be inclusive, universally meaningful and something that binds us all together.”


Chad, who heralds from Redlands, CA, has been previously featured in Art BEAT spotlighting his work that was on display outside Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL (see photo below). A prolific sculptor, with public artwork around the country, Art BEAT publisher sent him the initial information about the opportunity for the Batavia Cemetery. Thirty sculptors applied which was later whittled down to three finalists that the public could vote on.


From proposal to completion, Chad estimates the project took about a year. Entitled “Eternal Flame”, the sculpture weighs 450 pounds and was crafted in California at Chad’s studio in his backyard. At its tallest point it reaches close to 9-ft tall, and the flame portion is 32” wide. It stands upon an 8-ft granite pedestal. Chad states that the sculpture’s silicon bronze sheet metal finish will be corrosion resistant and will take on a patina well.


To transport it to Batavia, IL Chad packaged it in a wooden cradle he specifically designed for it to safely lie in. Driving across the country with the help of his two brothers-in-law, they passed through very bad springtime weather for delivery and installation.  


A crane placed the sculpture atop the base where it was attached. The complete process lasted about three hours.


Chad provided Batavia’s public works office with a maintenance schedule and guidelines that almost resemble taking care of a car. It will need to be washed and waxed regularly to clean off bugs and to avoid eventual degradation of the art. Unfortunately, Chad notes, many cities do not take the necessary steps to maintain their public art which is vital for its ultimate lifespan.


“You know, once it’s installed it’s kind of a let-down and you feel almost deflated,” Chad reflects. “So much of your psyche goes into a project like this, but now I feel like I could sleep for a week!”  

The eternal flame under construction in Chad's workshop/studio at home in Redlands, CA.

Local readers may have seen Chad's DOOM SCROLL when it was on display at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL




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