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September 2, 2009 > Senior Center benches

Senior Center benches

The Public Art Committe approved all three finalists, who will construct models to present, for the benches to adorn the new Senior Center.

Models for the benches will go to the current Senior Center, Senior Advisory Commission, and will be available for public viewing.

Each artist will have the same budget to produce the model.

One bench required some element of bronze, be it a sculpture, or whatever the artist's concept was. There are four benches: three definitely at the entrance of the new Senior Center - two on the left and one on the right.

The heavier, bronze element bench the designers are talking about locating directly across from the entrance, next to the Barbara Lee Senior Center sign. So it won't be a physically useable bench per se, but more of a visual.

Maryann Baker aims to inspire joy through her artwork, and proposed bench designs called Cameo Bench, Dancing Shoes, Happy Hats, and Tulips.

The artist commented that in our busy lives we often forget about the joyous times in our life, and the seniors at the senior center will have time to experience memory lane, the benches providing them scenes that can "bring back those memories and inspiration I had."

The first bench is "Cameo Bench," in one possible design the artist incorporated the tree of life apple tree sculpture into the back of the arm rest. The tree is optional, and the entire bench meets the bronze requirement.

The second bench is called "Dancing Shoes." "What stories shoes can tell" the artist said in her proposal, "from baby's first shoes, to one's first dance shoes, to men's fashion..." wrote the artist. This design including playful ballet slippers, colored boots and pumps, but the design is not finalized.

Bench number three is "Happy Hats." Here seniors "can tell a story about one of their hats" and special time in their life, wrote the artist.

The last bench is "Tulips." The artist wrote that "Flowers are beautiful symbols and milestones of life."

One committee member stated that she felt the work of this artist would bring joy to those who saw the benches.

Voellger thought the benches were Victorian, and might not fit with the modern Senior Center, but the work was good.

Vera Lowdermilk wants her work to reflect the contribution that seniors have made. The artist also wants to invoke the memory of happy family times for seniors, surrounded by their loved ones, involved in activities that provide both instruction and joy. Each of the four benches will be made of cast bronze with a different scene on bas relief sculpture.

Each bench sculpture will have a different theme, season, and element (earth, water, wind, fire).

The first represents earth and spring, the second water and summer fun, fall harvest on the third and finally young adults sharing stories around a fire, nurturing, teaching, sharing traditions with their families.

All of the benches together create a unique story looking back on all types of life.

The entire back of the bench will be a picture created on based relief sculpture, not flat, but with an element of dimension. Each utilizing a season and element, portraying seniors and their families, the artist's interpretation of the young and old theme.

Committee concerns over this proposal focused on the need to see how the based relief would look and if the benches could be seen as interesting from a distance as people drive by.

Eldon P. Slick has four very different benches, presenting a scene of vitality that centers on the closeness of people. One bench is "Precious Life," a grandmother and grandfather lifting a grandchild with joy.

All the way through bench three which is "Family Dance." Bench four is "Our Time" between a man and a woman fondly reminiscing about the early days as partners. Bench two is "Reaching for the Stars," celebrating families striving to reach goals.

Family Dance has a section for a wheelchair.

The PAC looked at pictures of the artist's work in place in different cities as samples.

The artist will construct at least one three-dimensional model within size, weight, money, and time restrictions.

All of the artists were required to provide personal references, who staff will call to find out more about the artists.

The PAC accepted the three finalists that the subcommittee chose, and commissioned the artists to produce the three dimensional models.

The project has a $100,000 budget. The artists will be paid $1200 for their model work if they meet the requirements.

If the models are complete in four weeks, and two months are open for public comment, and the City Council approves in November, that would leave six months for the artists to produce four bronze benches.

The PAC discussed that the final design model may be exhibited for public and city commission comment for two weeks.

The public viewing locations may be limited to the current senior center and the library, with information in the newspaper about when and where to see and make comments.

Lorentzen will meet with engineering to determine the exact time the benches would need to be installed.

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