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 celebrates the evolution of the Lumberyard Arts Center with Team Kathy Bourgeois and members Sandy Cardens, Roma Earles, Mindy Pendreigh and Sharron Spence. The other bench salutes Baker University with Team Christina Malicke and members Becki Dick, Sheena Parsons and Ruthie Rodden.

The Lumberyard Arts Center (LAC) Bench Mural

Thanks to team Kathy Bourgeois: Sandy Cardens, Roma Earles, Mindy Pendreigh, and Sharron Spence for all their ideas and efforts.

Our painted collage of the Lumberyard has attempted to present our community arts center and its historic origins. In 1914, it was the Ives Hartley Lumber Center with a drive-through front entrance for loading and exiting the back to the alley. This continued well into the 70’s and 80’s. So, the blue Chevy truck was included next to the vintage Cook paint sign. In the 50’s the small corner building called Leroy’s Lunch was open complete with Coke Cola signs. It’s thanks to the Swan family, who operated the lumberyard since the 50’s that we have this remarkable space. Therefore, Mary Swan has her portrait next to the doors of the Swan Theater. There are other modern signs of change, with the Tom Swan Park area, mini library, corner fountain, piano, framed art, and plaques on the beautiful stone blocks and railings.  The sidewalk also commemorates the LAC’s beginning year of 2010 and the beautiful street lights shine on the new Baldwin City flag. Our design used  varied perspective to provide an opportunity to see both inside and outside the brick walls. It’s a painted quilt of new and old facets to this amazing building. 

The mural is also interactive. We invite you to find: a bird, a squirrel, a cat, mice and a frog.

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