The Qualicum Beach and Parksville & District Chambers of Commerce have partnered with The Old School House (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach and the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville to manage and coordinate a new public art project.
The project, Benchmark, Inspired by the Wait, is designed to encourage community collaboration and “encourage people to sit and contemplate, be at peace and perhaps even be…inspired by the wait,” according to the chamber of commerce.
Artists have been invited to design and create their vision of a “welcome bench” and submissions will be selected by a committee of five, the chamber said.
There will be 30 benches, created by grade 11 and 12 woodworking students from Ballenas Secondary school, on display from Nanoose to Bowser, according to the chamber of commerce.
“This community art project will allow us to come together creatively and demonstrate the strong sense of community pride that exists amongst Oceanside residents and will no doubt help to enhance the areas gathering space,” said Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville & Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce.
At the end of the public display, the art benches will be auctioned off and all proceeds will support the artists and the four coordinating not-for-profit organizations.
“I’m very proud to support this Oceanside art project that celebrates not only our local artists, but also those who support them. I hope you will enjoy finding one of these pieces of art and taking a moment to celebrate community,” said Jennifer Bate, executive director ot the MAC.
“We are so excited to see the artists work and to share them widely in places where people can stop and take some time to reflect. This has been quite the year of change. My hope is that they spread joy for all to witness,” said Illana Hester, executive director at TOSH.
Locals and visitors can follow the project on social media and participate in a self-guided tour to view all the benches from June to September 2021.
Artists wishing to participate have until Jan. 22 to apply at the Parksville chamber’s website.