The Jan George Bench Project will be the ninth community art project of the St. Croix River Valley Art Bench Trail. The first art bench was installed in Lakefront Park, Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2006, and the most recently completed project was unveiled in Mill Pond Park, Osceola, Wisconsin, in 2014. (See attached brochure and go to www.artbenchtrail.org for more information.)
The Jan George Bench Project was designed for Pioneer Park by twelve Stillwater Junior High School students in 2016 during a three-week summer session, lead by art teacher Megan Beadle and artist Julia Kaemmer with active involvement from several community members and local partners. With the goal to celebrate the work of the St. Croix Valley Red Cross, and particularly the leadership of Jan George, who served as this chapter’s director and in other capacities at Red Cross for more than 30 years, the students met with George and Red Cross volunteers, and learned about Stillwater history, as well as about the river. Their sketch for the bench shows two hands together, representing how the people in the river valley have, throughout history, depended upon one another and come together to lend support.
Artist Allen Christian will facilitate the final design and construction of the Jan George Bench Project this Fall. For more than two decades, Christian has worked out of a former warehouse he opens to the public and which is “jam-packed with singular works of art fashioned out of everyday objects.” To learn more, go to www.houseofballs.com.