New Albion benches are painted to promote community pride

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 June 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Downtown Albion now feels a bit like an art gallery and also a showcase of community pride.

Artists have been painting new street benches, and the first seven were put out today just in time for the Strawberry Festival on Friday and Saturday.

The village is getting 12 new benches as part of a Main Street grant that will help with other street-scape improvements in the downtown. The grant also paid seven artists for their work in creating the murals on the benches.

One of the new benches in downtown Albion is painted as a tribute to Charles Howard, founder of a Santa Claus School in Albion. Peter Loran is the artist.

Retired Albion art teacher Suzanne Wells created this scene of the Erie Canal.

Chris VerSteeg of Kendall created this painting of a tugboat at sunrise.

Arthur Barnes of Medina painted this bench with a cobblestone theme.

Three other benches are in the works and will be painted in themes featuring a piano, apples, and Grace Bedell and Abraham Lincoln. (Bedell is the Albion girl who wrote to Lincoln, urging him to grow a beard.)

I have been chairman of this art project. I’d like to see more of the benches in Albion. It a great way to promote our history and local attractions, while making downtown and Main Street a bigger attraction.

The artists did a wonderful job. These weren’t easy to paint. If anyone is interested in donating to help get more of these done, send me a message at

Peter Loran of Kent painted three benches with fishing-related themes. The area is world renown for its salmon and trout fishery.