The project involved the participation of students enrolled in SHARP Literacy’s eight-week Summer Learning Gain Initiative, which was offered at nine urban locations throughout Milwaukee.
The “Urban Agriculture” bench project was inspired by SHARP Literacy’s 12th We Love to Learn book, There Grows the Neighborhood: Agriculture in the City, written in collaboration with Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power.
Led by Milwaukee artist Sally Duback, the bench project is one of four permanent works of art created during SHARP Literacy’s 2016 summer program, that include the Urban Agriculture bench, Sally Duback and SHARP students at Journey House, Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, and Our Next Generation designed door-sized mosaic murals.
The six-foot concrete bench is fashioned with an array of colorful tile nature-inspired images, such as flowers, leaves, insects, and the sun. The design also includes tile “selfies” that students created, as well as a tile house, symbolizing the various neighborhoods in which students live. The Urban Agriculture bench sits adjacent to SHARP Literacy’s “Drop to Dinner” mural, which was installed in Neighborhood House Garden Park in August 2015.
The bench project is one of 20 public works of art created by students participating in the SHARP Literacy program over the past 20 years. Installed at various locations throughout Milwaukee, these curriculum-based art projects are part of the organization’s outside-the-classroom educational experience. Additional efforts include educational tours of area museums and student participation in researching and writing We Love to Learn books.