While Van Go artists traditionally create benches for clients, the staff decided it would be best to shift gears into a more individualized project for summer 2020.
COVID-19 changed so much everywhere, and it absolutely affected the Benchmark program. In previous years, artists were matched with a client, and together they discussed the design of the bench. This program gave artists an idea of what it's like to work on a client-specific project in the "real world."
Because of the necessary meetings between artists and clients that the Benchmark program requires, Van Go staff deemed it unsafe during this pandemic. Instead of working with individual clients, artists were now focused on community needs. The pandemic has certainly highlighted many folks 'essential needs'. After finishing a mural for Just Food in the spring, the idea of food insecurity was already in the minds of staff and artists. Behold, the idea of the essential needs pantries.
It's likely that you have seen tiny libraries around town, where you can peruse through and take/exchange reading materials. The essential needs pantries are similar. Van Go artists put together the pantries to be "adopted" by individuals or families. The idea behind "adoption" is that the individual or family who does so would be in charge of care and stocking the pantry, and passersby would be welcome to take what they need.
The pantries also gave artists the opportunity to create their own designs as opposed to incorporating idea of clients. Every pantry is unique in that way: it is a product of an artist at Van Go, made specifically with uplifting community spirits in mind.
If you see a Van Go pantry in the wild, feel free to post a photo on social media and tag Van Go. We love to see our artists' work being appreciated.
Once all the pantries are adopted, we will create a map so you can visit all of them and drop off supplies if you like.
See our featured article in the local newspaper: