The benches bring extravagant beauty to New Art Park

Five park benches have been transformed from simple pine trees to wonderfully whimsical works of art in a recent project co-sponsored by the Lexington Park Lions Club and St. Mary’s County Arts Council. The artwork was eagerly revealed at the recent Cherry Blossom Festival at Lexington Manor Passive Park.

The artists were selected from a call for proposals held in January 2022 with the winning submissions chosen based on an emphasis on creative color palettes combined with nature themes.

After several rounds of a jury trial, artists Ruby Bassford, Lea Craigie-Marshall, Michael Evans, Tom Rogers and Nicole Stewart were chosen based on their submissions and designed the benches listed below:

Ruby Bassford’s “Sleepy Fox” finds a friendly sleeping forest creature surrounded by fireflies in an enchanted, wooded setting. The bench seat includes paw prints intertwined with moss and leaves with fungi rooted and growing upward from the ground.

“Night Blossoms” by Lea Craigie-Marshall highlights nocturnal pollinators, especially the Luna Moth. It also features cherry blossoms and a night sky filled with a celestial scene of stars and nebulae. There is no need to wait for spring, visitors can enjoy the flowers all year round!

Michael Evans’ “Jellyfish” shines radiant with shimmering golden highlights drifting in a tranquil aquatic setting. Bubbles also have metallic accents as part of a symbiotic relationship in this beautiful piece that portrays a very intriguing aquatic creature.

“Butterfly Bench 1” by Tom Rogers is a stunning design of traditional monarch dyes mixed with a background of vibrant and bright teal. This piece portrays a tribute to change and transformation, including a carefully crafted silhouette that emerges from the depths of the double wings.

The “Sun and Moon” project reflects two solar entities that the artist, Nicole Stewart, often drew during her childhood. Their two friendly faces were recurring themes from Nicole’s past artistic endeavors with the bench design reflecting her memories of her youth.

Lexington Manor Passive Park is a 40-acre parcel owned by St. Mary’s County and managed by St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks. The parcel was formerly the site of the Lexington Manor housing project, built in the 1940s as military housing for employees of the Patuxent River Naval Base. The house was demolished in the 1980s, but many of the cherry trees planted from the start still remain.

This location is currently the focus of ongoing revitalization plans and includes an arts park, disc golf course, interpretation center and much more. Other recent improvements include new trails, roads and areas designated for non-motorized transit.

Make sure you stop by to enjoy the many amenities (and more to come!) And see the amazing benches created by our local artists. Both fun and functional, they are the perfect place to take a break, read a book, visit with friends, and snap a photo or two! Each one is painted from top to bottom, an in-person visit is a must to see the breathtaking detail from all sides!

To find out more about Lexington Manor Passive Park, including its address and opening hours, visit https://www.stmarysmd.com/docs/lexingtonmanorpassivepark.pdf

For future updates and news, see the St. Mary’s County Recreation & Parks website at: https://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/recreation/


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