Benches by the Bay
A fresh infusion of art has hit the streets! Twenty-five weather resistant benches were created by Door County artists and those that love Sturgeon Bay, Door County, resulting in functional art that visitors can enjoy all summer.
Check out the map of all the bench locations and grab a pic or two or all 25! #SturgeonBay #SturgSelfie
Explore all of the amazing art, and note your favorite so you can bid when the benches are auctioned off at Harvest Fest in September. Absentee bids are also accepted if you're unable to attend the September 15 auction.
Proceeds from our annual auction benefit the artists and the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center's Public Art programs. Because of you and the generosity of our title sponsor and member partner sponsors, Sturgeon Bay's Public Art programming continues to grow and thrive!
Thank you to our title sponsor and their support of
Sturgeon Bay's Public Art
Blue Collar Pride
"Electricians, plumbers, farmers, and lumberjacks have been around for many years. These sought after trades are what made Sturgeon Bay in the past and keep it going today. These are a few trades that are represented in this bench that you are relaxing on.
The materials used to make this bench are some of the materials used in the trades today and in the past. Electrical rigid conduit and threaded pipe fittings make up the framing of the bench. The wood framing is reclaimed pine beams with hemlock barn siding for the seat while the back rest is old barn tin roofing. The chain represents the lumberjacks that harvested the vast amounts of wood for building the barns that made Door County what it is today.
Blue Collar Pride is a bench designed and created to represent to the hard work that has been put into making Door County one of the most beautiful parts of Wisconsin visited by thousands every year. So have a cold one and enjoy your trip." ~ Joe Baron
"I have been a furniture designer in the Milwaukee area for nearly a decade. The overall inspiration for this bench - "Breaking Through" - was the rocky beaches and amazing sunrises seen over Lake Michigan. Another design inspiration was my love for classic wooden boats from the early to mid-20th century - that can be seen in the angled front and rear of the bench.
Knowing this bench would be placed in an outdoor setting, I experimented with Shou Sugi Ban - an ancient Japanese method of preserving wood by charring the outer surface and treating it with oil - certainly a nerve-wracking experience to start a work of art on fire not knowing what the final outcome will be. Lastly, the seat and backrest are made out of concrete and appear to be cracked - this represents Mother Nature always prevailing in the end - no matter how much concrete we put on top of her." ~Joshua Jakubowski
"I have decided to create a bench quite different from what we normally see on the streets of Sturgeon Bay. The beauty of the universe outside our earthly environs intrigued me. We have fun watching space movies and the places they take us through special effects.
We need to expand our thoughts about our place in the universe as we prepare to explore another planet in our solar system. It is challenging to contemplate the many places and systems outside of our world. We need our imaginations just to comprehend it all. May the force be with you as you take a seat and enjoy the ride on my cosmic couch." ~Ken Klopack
"When traveling through Door County, the country barn, be it still functional or in disrepair, is always a reminder of a different time and lifestyle from today. It brings to mind those "back in the day" moments that make you smile.
This bench, using recycled barnwood and hand painted county quilt, hopes to re-enact those barns of yesteryear." ~ Mary Kowalski & Dean Paschke
Defender(s) of Lambeau (ft. Mike Daniels)
Destination: Sturgeon Bay
Fish You Were Here!
"The idea for the "Fish You Were Here" bench came from thinking about a way to connect Sturgeon Bay's past with today's tourist driven economy. Fishing has always played a major roll in the history of the area and continues to be important.
I wanted to create a photo opportunity that was so fun that people would share it on social media. People with big goofy fish heads? I can't think of anything that would be more fun than that! I don't really consider myself an artist, at least not yet. Although my career as an exhibit designer and fabricator requires artistic skills, I've always thought of myself as more of a technician.
Our recent decision to move to Sturgeon Bay was driven by the fact that there are so many creative and artistic people here. Hopefully a little bit of that artistic talent will rub off on me as I start my journey to become a Door County artist." ~ Joseph Taylor
Into the Mystic
"The inspiration for this bench painting came from the Van Morrison song, "Into the Mystic." I pictured the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal Light in a night scene. The mysterious, but yet romantic feel when the ships are entering the unknown with the guidance of the lighthouse.
You will notice some unexpected metallic colors used in this piece that enhances the natural beauty of this Sturgeon Bay scene." ~ Kristy Parma
Justerbar Anker Benk
"I am a carpenter by trade. I have experience working in both wood and concrete- adding my own inspiration and special touch to items I make.
I wanted to make a clean, yet rugged looking bench - that wasn't only a bench. I saw this idea and was inspired by the versatility of the design. It was a challenging and fun project.
The adjustable anchor bench was given its Norwegian name of "Justerbar Anker Benk" to honor my wife's family's Norwegian and Door County ancestry and my own Scandinavian heritage." ~ George Sincock
"The bench I have created is called Night Flight. It's an owl in relief flying through the woods at twilight. I've been doing various owls in limestone and wood - they have been three-dimensional sculptures. This is a low relief rendering. I find all versions of raptors to be interesting." ~ Jeffrey Olson
"Sturgeon Bay is a great place to canoe. The shoreline and bays are exceptional! Decorated paddles invite the user to this activity!" ~ Jerry Richter
"Art has always been an essential part of my life. My art is inspired by nature. I love to paint landscapes, water, and moody skies. I typically paint with watercolor because I love how the paint rushes across the page in tandem with my busy hand to create my impressions of what inspires me.
I am a registered art therapist where I have the joy of helping others benefit, connect, and grow through engagement with art making. To communicate as an artist offers connections that words cannot. The creative process can inspire us to encourage and support one another through a global desire to find meaning and beauty in life." ~ Shari Brzinski
Rainbow Waves on Grain
"This bench was inspired by the diversity of our members at Boys & Girls Club of Door County and the wonderful community support we receive. Expressing our gratitude for the continual support of our community through the bright warm sun mixing with the cool blue tones of the water. Our club is enhanced by our surroundings, as our surroundings are impacted and enriched by the members of our club." ~ Boys and Girls Club of Door County
"Recently I have returned to the U.S. after living abroad for nearly four years. As I have returned to Wisconsin and begun the task of resettling, I've been contemplating the idea of "homecoming." As much as I love the countries I've lived in and visited, for me there is nothing quite like the feeling of returning to Wisconsin and traveling familiar country roads.
As an artist, I am striving to capture that feeling visually; to communicate the idea of arriving home at the end of a long journey. My artistic explorations in painted scenes and whimsical imagery are an invitation for the viewer, and fellow traveler, to arrive with me and rest in the beauty that is our Wisconsin home." ~ Rebekah Helsius
Seated, But Never at Rest
"This bench is designed to showcase the storied and diverse history of Sturgeon Bay. The images depicted evoke the many facets of what makes Sturgeon Bay the place it is today.
Each material used is tied directly to each of these facets of history - the steel work echoes ship build and shipping as well as landmarks such as the Michigan Street Bridge. The clay work is the Earth itself showcasing the rich farming tradition that continues to this day. Even the wood of the bench is reminiscent of the earliest vessels that made harbor here." ~ Jamison Glisczinski
Although benches are certainly a welcome addition to any streetscape, I think they are especially suited for gardens. So when I designed my bench, I was inspired by some of my favorite garden flowers: poppies.
"I have been making hand-colored woodcut prints for many years, and I wanted to adapt that process to the bench. I hand-carved the poppies using my woodcut tools; then I added color, and finally I rolled black paint over the carving with a printmaking brayer to create the textured outlines. The bench is sealed on all surfaces with several coats of marine spar polyurethane varnish, so it will be a beautiful garden accent for years to come." ~Paula Wendland
"To me, sunrise is the most beautiful time of the day. It offers serenity and hope; a time to collect your thoughts while planning out your dreams before the rest of the world wakes up. The beginning of a new day allows for a fresh start.
Many mornings the sky is painted with different ribbons of color letting you know that anything is possible. Reflections of the environment on the water prompt you to reflect on the choices you make each day. Enjoy this magical time, for it is only here for a moment. Using one of my favorite media, acrylic, my bench painting, "Sunrise," is my attempt to capture and convey the tranquility I feel during this magical and fleeting moment." ~ Renate Gregory
Tower of Memories
"I used spray paint cans to create the painting on the bench. It pictures the 1932 Potawatomi State Park tower peeking out of the tops of the trees of the scenery of Sturgeon Bay that holds memories for many tourists over the years as well as locals. I remember climbing it myself from a very young age. Unfortunately, it is being dissembled.
I chose to paint the tower to raise awareness for the funds needed to keep the memories alive looking to the future to build a new one. If you follow me as an artist, you will know I have done more than one donation piece for the Peninsula State Park Eagle Tower fund raising.
I am so hopeful that this bench will help both the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center and the Potawatomi State Park by keeping Sturgeon Bay a continued attraction and save the memories of millions of people who have climbed the 75 foot tower by inspiring others to take the efforts to build a new tower at the park in the future." ~ Rebecca Struck
Towns of Door
"This is my 8th year of participation in the Sturgeon Bay street art program. It is the first time I've designed a bench. I like to make an interactive object: one that will be interesting to look at but also encourage participation. In the past, my pieces have often turned into musical instruments, some more elaborate than others. This year's tubulum will be simple but fun to play, hopefully inviting many creative musical moments." ~ Patricia Webster
Van Gogh Irises Paradise
Artist: Nicole Herbst
Sponsor: Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center
Bench Location: Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center- 107 N. 1st Ave.
"This is my rendition after Van Gogh's famous painting. What inspired me about doing this was that he created it as a peaceful outlet while he was trying to heal from his internal struggles at the asylum where he committed himself. This became an art therapy piece.
I hope when other enjoy it, they allow themselves to relax and appreciate the beauty around them. I added a simple dragonfly to offer a sense of freedom that we can always come and go to this restful spot. "Irises" was the first painting Van Gogh started after arriving at the asylum. The flowers were growing in a garden in the small outdoor area where the artist was allowed to stroll and sit." ~ Nicole Herbst
The Working Class
"The maritime life of Door County has added richness to the overall history of Door County. The tugboats of Sturgeon Bay are an integral part of this rich history. The name of this bench, "The Working Class," pays tribute to the important role of the tugs in the overall functioning of Marine Door County.
The painting, done in oil, depicts them in their current home surrounded by other icons in the history of Sturgeon Bay. The bench is treated with an automotive clear coat finish to protect it from the elements." ~ Brian Pier