Summer benchmarks: Tinley Park inviting design submissions for annual public art program
The village of Tinley Park is asking area artists to take a seat; specifically, a bench.
The callout is for the village’s 17th annual Benches on the Avenue public art program, which runs downtown from May to October. This year’s theme is “Around the World.”
Joanne Carroll, who is coordinating the program, said selecting the theme is a team effort.
“At the end of the prior year, we ask the artists what themes they would like to do,” she said. “We take a tally of a vote, and we bring it to the marketing and branding committee. They vote on which theme they’d like to see."
This year, they’d like to see some international elements.
The village typically sends inquiries to galleries in search of potential artists, who submit designs based on the theme, Carroll said.
"We pick usually 20 to 22 benches a year,” she said.
In the past, the program has included the work of students from Hillcrest and Andrew high schools.
Carroll said the program tends to draw in artists that participate year after year.
“A lot of our returning artists will come back,” she said. “In fact, we have five or six artists that have been with the program since the beginning.”
At the same time, the village is open to considering the work of new artists. Carroll said the program welcomes different types of creatives.
“We’ve found in the last two years that we a lot of people amongst groups of people who do the benches there’s a lot of people with woodworking skills,” Carroll said. “The benches have really become quite elaborate over the years.”
And that makes for a better experience for everyone, she said.
“You see groups of kids and families up and down Oak Park Avenue taking pictures on the benches,” Carroll said. “I think it really adds something to our downtown when people are out and walking around. Everybody really enjoys the benches.”
Besides having their work on display throughout the summer, participating artists will be introduced during one of the village’s Music in the Plaza events.
The deadline to apply to work on a bench is Jan. 31.