Conversation Benches

Students at Tomekichi Homma Elementary School put the final touches on a community Public Art Project (sponsored by City of Richmond Public Art Program and The Phoenix Art Workshop). The youth participants developed these “Earth Benches” with the guidance of artist Mark Glavina as a gathering place for education.

The project started over a year ago with slide presentations on public art and discussions with students on design and process. The original idea of a conversation pit evolved into three conversation benches representing the Deep Blue Sea, Middle Earth, and Great Big Sky (dream bench). Clay, earth, sand and straw (COB) were combined to build these ecologically friendly pieces as a way of involving and benefiting the community at large. Over 100 volunteers contributed by mixing the cob by foot on tarps, and hand building and sculpting the benches. The benches were then finished with a lime earthen plaster and Silica paint.

Thank you to all who helped with time and materials, including donations by Art Knapps, City of Richmond Public Art Program, School Board staff, New Image Studios’ Nicki Roberts, and the many parents, students, staff and administration at Homma Elementary. Special thanks also goes to the Grade 7 design committee (Pascal Schram, Sara Jampole, Alex Lindsay, Ophelia Yu and Alex Kwan, Kathrine Pihl, Krista Schapp, teachers Ms Jones and Ms La Pierre and alumni Denise Gittins). Great Job!