Lawrence, KS— Each summer during Van Go, Inc.’s ‘Summer Benchmark Project’, twenty apprentice artists, ages 14-18, are commissioned by local businesses, community organizations, and individuals to create original public art benches. The benches will be unveiled Friday, July 19, at 5 pm at Van Go. This event is free and open to the public.
During the 8-week session, apprentice artists consult with their clients to develop a design for their bench. The youth work 22 hours a week and complete a 25-step process to complete their benches. Throughout the process, participants gain essential job skills as well as professional experience through interaction with community members. In addition, participants receive counseling, life skills lessons, health and wellness education, and a nutritious lunch daily. Van Go has employed this ‘earn while you learn’ style of programming for 20+ years.
The completed benches stand as a lasting tribute to the professional and creative success of some of Douglas County’s teens most in need of Van Go’s wrap-around services. There are now more than 400 benches in Lawrence and the surrounding area.
- Baker Wetlands – Outside for a Better Inside, Artist: Jafiya Birdling
- Baker Wetlands – Outside for a Better Inside, Artist: Koby Owen
- The Department for Children and Families, Artist: Khyrea Ramsey – Donated by The Carmody’s
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2020 – Donated by Shade Little, Artist: Lashanti Little Moon
- Edward Morris Residence, Artist: Winona Ayon
- Centro Hispano, Artist: Katie Diaz– Donated by Bev and George Wilson
- Berry Global, Artist: Justin Ray
- Allen Press, Artist: Ella Nobo
- Raintree Montessori School – Buddy Bench, Artist: Max Fuentes Sebanc
- Helga Brahman Residence, Artist: Elizabeth Folorunsho
- Washington Creek Lavender, Artist: Kendra Wakolee
- Village Shalom – Van Sway Family – Artist: Ayana Gutierrez
- Happy Shirt Printing Company, Artist: Cam Kent
- CASAblanca Auction, Artist: Stephen Bradley– Donated by Jean Shepherd
- Hertzog Residence, Artist: Mary-Esther Bush
- Diede Residence, Artist: Angelina Aguilar
- 23rdSt. Brewery, Artist: Ian Hoopes
- Free State Dental, Artist: Xarien Edwards
- Cider Gallery, Artist: Katie Grear
- eXplore Lawrence, Artist: Nima Sherpa
“For the first time in my life I felt worthy, like I was someone who could be seen in the world as a successful individual. Van Go saved my life,” said Sarah, a 2007 Van Go graduate and current Van Go, Inc. Board member.
Van Go, Inc. is an arts-based social service agency that provides year-round after-school and summer job-training programs to high-needs and under-served youth, ages 14-24.
More information about Benchmark and Van Go, Inc. is available online at www.van-go.org.