Calling all local artists! It’s that time of year and UICCU BenchMarks is here again! We are thrilled to launch the sixth installment of BenchMarks and can’t wait to see what our rich community of artists has in store!
BenchMarks 6 will see Iowa City’s downtown public benches return as fresh canvasses for original, community artwork. Benchmarks will be taking a vacation for a few years as Ped Mall renovations get under way, so we are hoping to launch a blowout year. Have a creative idea for a bench? We’re game for anything this go around! Favorite benches from previous years have been bright and colorful, humorous and witty, as well as visually dynamic and surprising. The benches this year may stick around for a few extra years, so we’re looking for benches that will leave a memorable impact for those that visit Iowa City as well as our own community during this rejuvenation of our downtown.
Artists may submit as many designs as they wish, and paint up to 3 benches if all designs are accepted. This year, chosen artists will be compensated $300 (in addition to their supplies being covered) for each bench. Benches will be put to both a public vote and juried vote with additional cash awards given to those with the most votes and highest scores respectively. Benches vary somewhat in length, so consider laying out your design in a rectangular format, and allowing for flexibility in the dimensions of your image. A 1:2 or 1:3 format will generally work. Designs mustbe on the front of the bench, but may also incorporate the back side if desired.
We will limit the number of benches painted to allow us to be highly selective of our artists or groups, aiming for quality over quantity. Individuals and groups are encouraged to apply with a clear vision for their design. All designs should adhere to the theme, and must meet basic criteria (no profanity, religious iconography, political or commercial advertising, etc). Benches will need to be painted during an 8-week window in the late spring. A public art committee will review all the proposals at the start of April.
Similar to last year, benches in excellent condition from previous years will be retained, and we will cycle the new benches in to replace those that are showing their age.
• Application period: March 1 – March 31 at midnight.
• Acceptance notifications: April 3
• Artist Orientation (must attend one): April 7 (evening) and April 8 (morning)
• Painting begins: April 9
• Painting ends: May 31