The eighth bench on the St. Croix River Valley Art Bench Trail will be unveiled on Saturday, September 6, at 1:00 p.m. in Mill Pond Park in Osceola, Wisconsin. This unveiling will take place as part of Osceola Community Days and the annual Wheels and Wings event. A craft fair with food vendors will be in Mill Pond Park that day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information on Osceola Community Days, go to www.osceolacommunityfair.com, for information on Wheels and Wings, go to www.wheelswings.com, and for information on the Art Bench Trail, go to www.artbenchtrail.org.
Under the leadership of artist David Markson and Osceola teacher Amy Klein, twelve 3rd through 8th grade students designed this bench during a four-week summer school class organized around the question, “How was the river shaped and how has the river shaped us?” They met face-to-face with National Park Rangers, citizens concerned about the preservation of natural habitats, the village administrator, local businessmen, and volunteer historians.
About the process, Klein writes, “Part research, part adventure, the group trekked to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and Standing Cedars Nature Preserve to find out about the land before the village of Osceola existed. They learned of past industries via the Osceola Historical Society and toured Bending Branches as an example of modern industry. Working side by side with artists at Franconia Sculpture Park, students were profoundly impacted by the power of imagination. Canoeing a section of the St. Croix, they felt the peace and wonder of the very waterway that inspired the community of Osceola…The group concluded the message of the bench should be “togetherness” – an expression of collective effort, appreciation and hope for the future of their community.”
Using studio space at the St. Croix ArtBarn to build parts of the bench that could easily be transported, and with guidance from J & S General Contracting, they built the bench late in the summer using rocks, concrete, recycled lumber, railroad ties, metal rods, and found objects. They chose to place it in Mill Pond Park because it is the center of town where many people would have access to it, and they located it next to the creek so people who sat there would, as one student said, “be able to listen to the birds and quietly think, away from the man-made things of downtown.”
For further information, contact Anastasia Shartin, visual arts director, at 715.386.2305, ext. 103.