Burlington gives artistic flair to benches

BURLINGTON – Residents in Burlington are giving new life to old city benches by having artists paint them with intricate designs.

Three benches were unveiled Friday at the Burlington Art Center. The display was the latest installment of the Downtown Partners’ annual County Seat Project, according to the Burlington Hawkeye. The County Seat Project was started in 2009, and each year a new crop of benches is painted by local artists. More than two dozen benches have been through the program so far. The benches unveiled this year had been painted previously.

Organizers say the benches were all painted by current or former Burlington residents. Artists chosen for this year’s project had about six weeks to complete their benches.

“We feel these benches represent downtown Burlington as a great place to live and work,” said Connor Brakeville, an intern with the Greater Burlington Partnership.

Brakeville said the benches were falling apart and missing paint chips before they received the new paint job.

One of the benches, titled “Roaring on the River,” was painted by 13-year-old Claire Favo; her mother, Renee Kurimiski Favo; and her grandmother, Carleen Kurimiski.

Another bench, “Who’s the Wiener,” is covered with paintings of wiener dogs. That bench was painted by Rose Talashoma, who has since moved out of state.

The final bench, “Spring in Iowa,” features spring flowers, geodes and the state bird, the goldfinch. That one was painted by Julie Hensley and Annette Kuhlemeir.

The art center is open from 1 to 4 p.m. daily.