BenchMark Art Competition Underway; Winners TBA During Art Walk

The project is complete!  Local artists have finished making masterpieces out of the eight downtown benches on the Courthouse Square, and winners of the contest will soon be announced.

Early this summer, Main Street Marion, in strategic planning for a mural program under a limited budget, decided to do a mini-mural project while developing long term plans for larger murals.  With $1,000, “BenchMark” was born.   The MSM Design Committee accepted artwork designs and concepts from Grant County artists, and eight different artists or groups were selected to paint a bench.

Below is a list of the benches and respective artwork information (Counter-clockwise from the South):

  1. South of Courthouse – West Bench:

Artist(s):
About Artists: Participants who painted this bench represented several facets of the community, ranging from college students to established business professionals, parents, teachers and designers.
Group: Lark’s Song
Title of Artwork: “City Vision”
Description: This bench was painted as part of a Lark’s Song coaching workshop that focused on helping participants gain clarity around the vision they carry for their own cities, neighborhoods, and communities. The participants identified key words that represented their unique vision and painted them together on the bench to represent many individual visions coming together to form a community vision.

  1. South of Courthouse – East Bench:

Artist: Ashley Galvan, Marion, IN
About Artist: I’ve been teaching at the Artist Stage School for 2 years.  I have been drawing and enjoying it ever since I can remember.
Title of Artwork: “Glory”
Description: This bench is in honor of the vets.  It’s for all they have done and continue to do for liberty.

  1. East of Courthouse – South Bench:

Artist: Kate Perez, Marion, IN
About Artist: Instructor at Community School of the Arts
Group: CSA
Title of Artwork: “Impressionist CSA”
Description: My bench takes inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh. I made my project with bright colors in an impressionistic style.

  1. East of Courthouse – North Bench:

Artist: Roger Tappan, Jonesboro, IN
About Artist: Loretta Walker’s husband (AKA: “Chopped Liver”)
Group: James Dean Fan Club
Title of Artwork: “Little Bastard”
Description: “Little Bastard” was the name on James Dean’s Porsche Spider.  In light of the new James Dean Birth Site Memorial. I thought it would be nice to do something related to James Dean.

  1. North of Courthouse – East Bench:

Artist(s): Meagan McCracken and Michael Mathias, Gas City, IN
About Artists: Meagan is the Office Coordinator for the Community Foundation of Grant County.  Michael is a Bicycle Mechanic for Curfman’s Cyclery.
Title of Artwork: “The Keys to Life”
Description: “Life is like a piano.  What you get out of it depends on how you play it.”  -Tom Lehrer

  1. North of Courthouse – West Bench:

Artist: Armila Francis, Upland, IN
About Artist: I’m a nature enthusiast and adjunct professor at Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University.
Group: IWU Alliance Garden
Title of Artwork: “Flora and Fauna of Indiana”
Description: I chose this design to inform people of the flora and fauna native to Grant County and to help people enjoy the natural beauty all around us.

  1. East of Courthouse – North Bench:

Artist: Laurie L. Miller, Marion, IN
About Artist: Graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a double-major in art with an emphasis in graphic design. Master’s in Business Administration at IWU.  I enjoy painting in oils on canvas typically, but also enjoy experimenting in other media. I’m a Digital Asset Manager for Our Sunday Visitor in Huntington.
Title of Artwork: “Dreamers Welcome”
Description: I hope the vibrant colors and happy imagery in my bench will make people smile and take a moment to sit down and let their minds wander. My love of the outdoors is my inspiration, and can be seen in the warm swirling beams of the sun which dominate the seat back and multi-colored daisies which dot the landscape of the bench seat.

  1. East of Courthouse – South Bench:

Artist: Emily Hathway, Fairmount, IN
About Artist: I am a professional certified Life Coach, with my own practice focused on coaching around life purpose discovery, imagination, and creativity.
Group: Emily Hathway, LLC
Title of Artwork: “Wonder”
Description: This bench was a project intentionally created with intuition, finding the colors & objects that were resonant with me and creating with them. The process of wonder and playfulness while creating is just as valuable & meaningful as the outcome.

Artists completed their designs on all the benches at noon today (Aug. 28).  A competition now begins in which a judging committee made up of 7 members from the Design Committee, the Chronicle Tribune and the News Herald will select their top three designs based on an evaluation system.

Ballots will be turned in at 1pm Sept. 3rd.  The BenchMark Reveal Party will commence at 6pm on the South Side of the Square, where representatives of MSM, the local artists and members of the public are invited to walk around the square at that time while each artist showcases their bench.  Immediately following the bench tour, the group will announce the winners of the BenchMark contest.  1st, 2nd and 3rd Place cash prizes will be awarded to the winners at that time.

A People’s Choice Award will also be announced as a result of compiling votes from the public.  The Chronicle Tribune will feature the pictures of each bench in Sunday’s paper (Aug. 30). There will be a link directing interested voters to an all-access website.  The News Herald will also invite voting through instructions in their paper on Sept. 1.  Main Street Marion will also upload the photos on their Facebook page, and voters may click “Like” below their favorite bench.

The BenchMark Reveal Party is only a portion of the fun and festivities scheduled for that Day.  It’s part of MSM’s 3rd Annual “Made in Marion” Art Walk, where local art will be featured in different “galleries” hosted by businesses scattered throughout downtown.   The annual First Friday Downtown Celebration event kicks off at Centrum Mall (428 S. Washington St.) and the 5th Street Commons at 4pm with live music and entertainment, where maps will be given out for the Art Tour.

About Main Street Marion
Main Street Marion is an independent nonprofit downtown association that inspires, unifies and champions the Downtown Marion Experience. Our local Main Street office is your direct connection to the social and business hub of downtown Marion, and we are 100% funded by your donations!

Our Mission
To promote and stimulate the downtown Marion economy through a four-point approach system – design, economic restructuring, organization, and promotions.

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