This year, the UICCU’s “Benchmarks 2.0” program strived for a new approach that expanded the number of benches painted to 115 and incorporated feedback from leaders within the City of Iowa City’s local arts communities. BenchMarks 2.0 builds on the success and interest of the first round, but changed methods from a purely individual artistic expression to one that established an arts “collaborative” and a themed, cohesive final product.
Highlights of the Benchmarks 2.0 program include:
1. Establishment of significant public arts collaborative, involving community artists and designs from school children to seasoned professionals.
2. A year-long community “puzzle” that visitors and the public can enjoy discovering upon each outing to the Downtown
3. A professionally managed program with a unified aesthetic
4. The creation of jobs for professional artists consistent with the UICCU and ICDD’s goals of supporting the local arts industry
Check out the NEW Digital UICCU BenchMarks 2.0 Book
About the Look
The visual appeal of the benches was designed for both micro- and macro- interpretations, for short-term (one-time downtown visitors) to long-term (people who are around everyday).
On the surface the visitor detects:
• a unified (hopefully pleasing) color scheme
• a graphic approach
• repetition of forms and materials for cohesion
A more in depth review reveals:
• connections between benches
• word/reference games on “eyecon” benches
• larger or longer-term puzzles to unravel
2013 ART TEAM:
The Art Team is composed of 4 local artist/organizers in charge of conceptualizing, organizing, and working with the general public in a series of all-ages workshops to develop the expression of all into a unified, public art project.
JOHN ENGELBRECHT - John is director of the community arts organization Public Space ONE, a position he occupies as an artist, administrator, and advocate for local artists. He received his MFA from Iowa in 2009 and instigates, exhibits, and collaborates at both home and abroad. Iowa City Community Supported Art, ps·z, and The Zenzic Press are a few projects he has been integral in creating.
CODY GIESELMAN - Cody is currently an MFA candidate at the UI Center for the Book and marketing assistant at the UI Museum of Art. A long-time Iowa City resident she has been involved in a number of community organizations and events, such as the Bike Library and Bike to Work Week. She has exhibited work in local galleries such as Public Space ONE and Arts Iowa City and published a national distributed zine, Ackwardly Put.
KALMIA STRONG - Kalmia works at the intersection of multiple roles: collaborator, facilitator, curator, and experimenter. In Iowa City, she has initiated a "micro-residency", co-created or organized several Public Space ONE programs (Iowa City Community Supported Art, SOUP & ps·z), and curated an international exhibition of tactile art in the PS1 gallery. Her experience includes collaborative performance (Bread and Puppet Theatre) and collective history (Bumpkin Island Art Encampment). She is currently collecting stories and amassing documentation of Iowa City's alternative art spaces and publications, while actively producing her own books and related work.
JAY SCHLEIDT - Jay is a chasm flooding with collaborative tendencies. Over the years he's published a few hundred zines, designed album covers for over 100 up-and-coming bands, and was most recently seen in Chicago improvising projected visualizations to live music. His shirt printing methods have garnered attention from learned professionals, both for the efficient groundbreaking style as well as the fashionable appeal. Great with kids, and able to speak eruditely with brain surgeons, a love of puzzles and inter-locking patterns are always on the tip of his mind.