Benchmark is a community arts project initiated by Blackbird Arts in May of 2012 in collaboration with the Downtown Development Authority in Traverse City. The project partners individual schools and/or community groups with a professional artist and a local writer, to design, develop and create art benches using existing downtown benches. Our goal is to keep high quality arts in the school and provide a six-week artist residency in schools to teach students a variety of art techniques and allow them to learn from professional artists and writers.
In August of 2012, Blackbird Arts, artist Glenn Wolff, writer Jerry Dennis and students from the Greenspire School unveiled the first bench pilot. Thanks to generous sponsors, four benches have undergone transformation and have been turned into beautiful, functional art for our community!
Bench #1 / Location: Outside Brew on Front Street in Traverse City, MI
School: The Greenspire School
Artist: Glenn Wolff
Writer: Jerry Dennis / The Living Great Lakes
Donor/Sponsor: Rusty Warren
East Middle School - Ms. Laird's Classroom
Artist: Marcia Borell
Writer: Cari Noga - The Plovers
Sponsor/Donor: The Aline Underhill Orten Foundation
facilitated by Artists Creating Together.
If you are a business or individual interested in sponsoring a bench, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (231) 421-8085.
Adult Work Center - Lynn Baumann’s classroom
Artist: Elizabeth Clark and mentor Marcia Borell
Author: Bill O. Smith
Sponsors/Donors: ACT-GT, Exit Realty Paramount, Handicapped Committee of Rotary Charities, and the GT Regional Community Foundation.
Since 2012, Blackbird Arts has supported Empty Bowls by hosting workshops, Community Bowl Painting events, and private workshops to create hand built bowls to donate for local Empty Bowls events.