Public Arts Midland: Neighborhood Bench Project

Call Summary 

Public Arts Midland is seeking local artists to transform a bench into art, creating something beautiful and functional that shares cultural traditions and offers connection. Artists will create a design and paint on locally crafted wood benches at the Creative 360 location.  The completed benches will be installed throughout Midland County through the fall of 2023.

Murals have always been powerful tools to educate and inform community members over a wide variety of topics. As Public Arts Midland’s vision statement notes, “We believe that art connects, heals, inspires, teaches, and speaks to us in myriad ways that build stronger and more vibrant communities.”  Public art gives our community a collective voice and a platform to express these values, while also bringing awareness to the beauty of our city’s physical and cultural landscape. These bench mini-murals are to be family friendly and a captivating addition to the downtown scene and surrounding areas. Public Arts Midland aligns to the broader vision of Midland County –

Midland: An inclusive community.  Together. Forward. Bold. An exceptional place where everyone thrives.

Bench Design 3D Model for Reference

Project Description

The primary goal of this project is to share the variety of cultural traditions that make up this unique community. From the traditions and knowledge of the Anishinaabeg and their relationship to our rivers, to the history of the 65 settlers who founded the city in 1850. From the multigenerational families still farming on the outskirts of the county, to the international families coming to Midland from as far away as Shanghai and Brazil. From the Mid Century Modern architects who created unique homes and gathering places in our city, to the citizens who are working to rebuild the Village of Sanford destroyed by the 2020 flood. The challenge is to create something beautiful and functional that encourages dialogue, shares important historical, community and cultural traditions from Midland County, and offers the literal opportunity for connection while sitting together and sharing.

Art Requirements

The submitted design should:

  • Be interesting, beautiful and functional and share cultural traditions of the residents of Midland county, connecting while being inclusive, and with no elements that may be considered offensive.
  • Incorporate the color Calypso, SW6950 by Sherwin Williams (a turquoise color), as a connection point between all benches and a nod to the book The Turquoise Table, Finding Community and Connection In Your Own Front Yard by Kristin Schell.
  • Use only specific materials that can withstand the outdoors (materials will be provided by Public Arts Midland).

Art Location for Bench Painting

Creative 360
5501 Jefferson Ave
Midland, MI 48640


The selected artists will be awarded $500 for all time spent on the design and painting of the bench. The cost of the paint and materials will be covered by Public Arts Midland.

Artist Eligibility 

This call is open to emerging and professional artists, both working independently and/or with a team, within Midland County, Michigan. This can be anyone from a student to an experienced artist. It is suggested that applicants have experience working with paint.  Public Arts Midland has a commitment to promoting equal opportunities for all, without regard to race, sex, gender, color, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis prescribed by law.

Members of the Public Arts Midland Committee may submit to participate in this project, but those who do will be recused from the voting process.

Mentorship Program

A mentorship program is being offered to all artists for this project to provide guidance and support. You may email Public Arts Midland at to get mentor help with the application process, or please indicate on the application that you are interested in having a mentor. A mentor will be required for all artists under the age of 18.

Note:  Anyone interested in being a mentor may apply at A mentor stipend is available.

Application Requirements

  • Statement of Interest including name, age if under 18, and contact information (No more than 300 words | PDF format)
  • Images of Past Work (Optional, but recommended)
  • Mock up of Design on the Bench Templates found Here
  • Name and contact information must be on each page that is submitted, including the Design pages
  • Hard copy submissions may be dropped off at the Midland Area Community Foundation, 76 Ashman Circle, Midland, M-F, 9-5.


Deadline for submission is June 4, 2023 at 11:59 PM. – THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 06/11/23 at 11:59 PM

Submission Address 

A complete application, including all required documents, should be submitted with the subject line “PAM Neighborhood Bench Project” to by 11:59 pm 6/11/2023.

Hard copy submissions may be dropped off at the Midland Area Community Foundation, 76 Ashman Circle, Midland, M-F, 9-5.

Selection Process 

All submissions that meet the stated requirements will be reviewed by the Public Arts Midland selection committee.  The artists whose designs receive the most votes will be given the opportunity to create a bench.  Voting will take place on June 15, 2023 and artists selected will be notified no later than June 17, 2023.

Note:  Public Arts Midland members who submit designs for consideration will not be included as members of the selection committee.

Selection Criteria 

The selection criteria will include the following:

  •     Interpretation and clarity of description of project idea
  •     Creativity, originality, feasibility, and scope of artwork
  •     Artistic quality, composition, and overall design of work

Project Timeline 

Submission deadline: June 11, 2023 at 11:59 PM

Voting happens: June 15, 2023

Announcement of Chosen Artists: June 17, 2023

Mandatory Artist Meeting:  June 21, 2023, 6-7pm

Painting Period: June 24, 2023 – July 22, 2023

Completion date (including installation): No later than Aug 10, 2023

Resources for Questions 

For questions specific to the application process, please contact Dacia Parker at

Visit to learn more about the work we do in Midland County.
You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram @publicartsmidland.

This project is funded in part by a grant from Michigan Art & Culture Council.

This project is facilitated with support from Creative 360 and Parker Lane Art & Design Studios.