A series of "art benches" made by local artists and crafters is coming to Hotchkiss this fall. The benches will provide a blend form and function and will be crafted by local artists and artisans.

Last spring representatives from Community Builders, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Transportation and Charlier Associates held a half-day workshop in Hotchkiss. Supporters of healthy economies for Colorado towns and cities, they brought together retail business owners, DOLA Region 10 and DCED representatives, area chambers of commerce, mayors, trustees and interested citizens to talk economic development

For hosting the workshop the Town of Hotchkiss was awarded a $3,500 project grant from the CDPHE. CDPHE also committed an additional $1,500 toward the project, if needed.

A roundtable session identified possible projects that would fall within the grant budget and that would show tangible results for downtown. Participants identified the need for sturdy but attractive benches that would serve the dual purpose of providing resting stations in town for seniors, shoppers and walkers, and would also reflect the unique spirit of Hotchkiss. The result was a pilot art bench program.

Four art benches will be installed this year, with the remaining funds going toward ready-made park benches.

Each bench maker will receive $1,250 per bench -- $750 from the town grant, and an additional $500 from a business or individual sponsor. Each bench will include a plaque acknowledging its sponsor. The committee plans to add more benches in the coming year. The first bench is in the works, with delivery anticipated by Sept. 15.

Interested artists and artidans can contact Mary Hockenbery at 970-314-3373 for details.

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