Niles completes public art bench project, announces scavenger hunt contest

Leader photo CRAIG HAUPERT — Twenty fun and functional benches painted by local artists have been placed in various locations throughout Niles. Residents who name the artist for each bench will be entered in a drawing to win $100 that can be spent at participating Niles businesses.

Leader photo CRAIG HAUPERT — Twenty fun and functional benches painted by local artists have been placed in various locations throughout Niles. Residents who name the artist for each bench will be entered in a drawing to win $100 that can be spent at participating Niles businesses.

Residents will have a chance to win $100 in “Niles dollars” by completing a scavenger hunt in celebration of the completion of Niles Main Street’s public bench project called Park Yourself in Niles.

Twenty new benches — each painted in a unique style by a local artist — have been placed at various locations throughout Niles.

Lisa Croteau, Niles Main Street program manager, said most are in downtown Niles, but at least one is located in Niles Township.

In order to complete the scavenger hunt, participants must identify the artist who painted each bench.

The name of the artist is located on a plaque on all benches. While the locations of the benches won’t be released until the contest is over, Niles Main Street has provided hints and the name of the sponsor for each bench as clues to help people finish the hunt.

Answers must be emailed to lisa@uncoverniles.com or delivered to the Niles DDA/Main Street office at Niles City Hall by May 9.

The winner’s name will be drawn from all correct entries. That person will receive $100 in Niles dollars that can be spent at participating Niles businesses.

“We are excited to get it out and underway,” Croteau said.

The project began in 2011 as a way to bring fun and functional art to downtown Niles, while at the same time promoting local art and local artists.

“Other communities have painted ducks and that kind of thing,” Croteau said. “This is very wonderful and colorful and serves the same purpose but is functional.”

The Niles Art Association partnered with Niles Main Street in 2015 to help complete the project and soon after the remaining artists and sponsors were found.

Croteau thanked the art association for its help.

“They had a blast and did some really great work,” she said.

Scavenger hunt game sheets can be found at the Niles District Library, Niles City Hall and Leader Publications. People can also find the form on the Niles Main Street Facebook page.

Below is the “hint” and sponsor for each bench with the name of the artist missing:

1. “Birds and Chapin” — Andrews’ Tax X Accounting, PC

2. “Sunset” — S.E. Berrien County Landfill

3. “Black and White and Red all Over” — Lake Michigan College

4. “Red Barn” — United Federal Credit Union

5. “Family Tree” — Dr. Richard Beckermeyer DDS

6. “Woodland Creatures” — Dr. Richard Beckermeyer, DDS

7. “Color Burst” — M.A.A.C. Property Services

8. “Our Town” — Leader Publication

9. “Child’s Play” — Ready Theater

10. “Go Team” — Niles Community Schools

11. “Journey in Clouds” — City of Niles

12. “Posies Galore” — Dr. Paul V. Detrisac

13. “Deer Forest” — Camden Appliance

14. “Friends” — Nancy Butler

15. “Bridge” — Kim and Jim Scarpone

16. “Knitted” — Red Purl

17. “Paper Airplanes” — Niles DDA Main Street

18. “Notre Dame” — Tyler Automotive

19. “Chicago Skyline” — Tyler Automotive

20. “Birdhouses” — Brown Funeral Home

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