"Take a Seat!"

Over the past year, under the leadership of local artist and DSNI staff member, Kalamu “Kal” Kieta, we brought community members together to spark creativity, conversation and expression through the creation and design of 24 public benches. We’ve heard many residents share that there are not enough spaces for people to sit and connect with one another and this project provided a real opportunity to creatively support a community need. In response, we wanted to facilitate intergenerational exchange and support freedom of expression, creativity, and culture.

Four local artists, Kalamu Kieta, Paul Champan, Ivan Richiez and Devaughn Owens, hosted 42 public salons to create the benches. Participants first constructed the benches using reclaimed wooden pallets. This reclamation symbolized DSNI’s history of building on community resources that are often times ignored or undervalued. Through a series of public salons, participants sparked visual conversations, creating cultural symbols and messages they wanted to convey through the benches.

Last month, we publicly unveiled the benches, which will be placed around the community and provide spaces for residents to convene and connect!