Engaging Spaces: Baldwin City Mural Bench Program for Sullivan Square

As part of Baldwin City’s sesquicentennial celebration, the Lumberyard Arts Center, Baldwin City Library and the City of Baldwin City partnered to produce a free community arts class funded by the Douglas County Community Foundation. Working with a lead artist, class participants will design and create five historically-themed benches. The lead artists included Becky Weaver, Christina Malicke, Kathy Bourgeois, Lisa Slavin and Meg Cundiff.

On Saturday, August 8, 2020, our first mural bench was revealed by Team Becky Weaver with Vickie Weaver, Luke Weaver, Bronté Bailey-Batman and Sommer Brecheisen and Sunny Allen. The theme is “Lucy’s Legagcy” and you can red more about the theme here.

On Friday, September 19, 2020 two additional benches were unveiled. The bench featured in this post salutes Baker University with Team Christina Malicke and members Becki Dick, Sheena Parsons and Ruthie Rodden. The other bench celebrates the evolution of the Lumberyard Arts Center with Team Kathy Bourgeois and members Sandy Cardens, Roma Earles, Mindy Pendreigh and Sharron Spence.

Team Christina Malicke with Becki Dick, Ruthie Rodden and Sheena Parsons

ECOTONES: Stability Through Change

This mural focused on the ecological and the symbolic. An ecotone is where two different biological communities’ transition into each other. This integration often creates an area rich in diversity. An example is to the north. Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve is an eastern deciduous forest that meets the tallgrasses of prairie land. Prairie lands that also hold the Sante Fe Trail of which many travelers have left deep ruts in the earth that are still visible to this day. Those pioneers also came to this area and planted the first buildings of Baker University. It is here the connection is made. Just as the geographical ecotone is rich in diversity due to the merging of two communities, Baker University and Baldwin City also converge in this way. We see Wowzer the Wildcat lean out of Baker’s Parmenter Hall cupula. He sees a landscape similar to what people embarking on their journey across the Santa Fe Trail would have traveled through, with pockets of old growth forest and vast expanses of lush prairie. By bringing fresh perspectives in education and business, Baker enriches Baldwin’s already strong foundations. It is this stability through change that is just another thing that makes this city a wonderful place to be. 







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