Update: info meeting postponed to March 7

‘Please, Be Seated!’ meeting postponed

Feb 28, 2013
“Birch Perch” spent a couple of comfortable summers in downtown Belfast as part of the city’s “Please, Be Seated!” seasonal public art project. Bob Nichols is pictured enjoying his work.

Belfast — Our Town Belfast’s design committee is calling for design submissions for “Please, Be Seated!” The committee will be reinstalling some of last year’s artistic seating creations at various downtown sites and would like to add 15 new, family-friendly structures to that group. This call for design submissions is open to any individual or team who has an idea for a bench or chair that can adorn Belfast’s sidewalks and parks this summer.

“You don’t have to be a professional artist, painter, carpenter, or welder — you just have to be able to create a seat that will hold up for five months of continual use and be weather-worthy,” said project coordinator Elaine Bielenberg.

Our Town Belfast invites everyone who might be interested in making a seat to an informational and inspirational gathering Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at Belfast Free Public Library, 106 High St. If there is an idea brewing; or someone wants to find a collaborative partner; or people just want to meet some of last year’s creators and discuss the creative process, this should be a good starting place. NOTE: DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT ICY CONDITIONS, THIS MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED A WEEK, TO MARCH 7.

Our Town Belfast encourages “creatives” in the community to challenge themselves or find a buddy, a family member or a team and put that pencil to paper before April 2, the design submission deadline. Design selection will be finalized and notifications go out April 15, and installation will begin June 10.

“The more creative, fun, witty and unusual, the better,” said Bielenberg.

“Please, Be Seated!” annually showcases the area’s local talents, providing a welcoming attraction to visitors and a means to enhance the downtown as it encourages exploration and relaxation in the charming retail, restaurant and arts district on the banks of Belfast Bay. Breanna Pinkham Bebb, Our Town Belfast’s executive director, sees the project impact as three-fold.

“Yes, it’s a fun and inviting aspect of the downtown, but at the same time it is a tool for area development in that we can attract people to different areas and places where new businesses are opening up, in addition to bringing visibility to the work of our many incredible area artists and designers,” she said.

Those interested in submitting a design can download an application at ourtownbelfast.org/welcome/please-be-seated. Questions can be emailed to pleasebeseated@ourtownbelfast.org; completed forms and sketches may be dropped off to the OTB office, 171 High St./Suite 6, in the Mini Mall.

The most important factor in a design is safety: designs should not have small parts, protruding elements, trip factors, stability or balance issues; and should hold up in all kinds of weather. All designs will be reviewed by the committee for artistic merit and appropriateness as public art structures.  The creators, whose designs are chosen, will be expected to maintain their projects as long as they are on display, from June to October.

The design committee also is looking for sponsorships and wishes to thank last year’s generous “Please, Be Seated!” business supporters — Cold Mountain Builders, Old Stuff, Dutch Chevrolet, Bangor Savings Bank, Front Street Shipyard, Mainely Pottery, Mathews Brothers, Attorney Joe Baiungo, The Belfast Co-op, Camden National Bank, Brambles, The Green Store, Waterfall Arts and Left Bank Books. This year sponsorships are all one level, $300. Of that amount, $250 will go to the artists and $50 used to fund signs, posters and marketing expenses. A sponsor may designate a specific artist. To be a sponsor, contact Our Town Belfast by calling 323-9100.

Our Town Belfast is a vibrant and inclusive social, arts and cultural effort that initiates and supports community and creative sustainability in downtown Belfast. For more information, visit ourtownbelfast.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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