If you are new to Tinley, you might have heard about something called Benches on the Avenue. Here’s what it’s all about.

What Is “Benches on the Avenue?”

Benches on the Avenue is a public art program that started in 2003 and has become one of the Village of Tinley Park’s most popular attractions, drawing thousands of residents and visitors annually along Oak Park Avenue—which is the main vein of Downtown Tinley.

It normally runs from May to October, and the benches stretch from 172nd to 176th streets.

The program is funded through sponsors, especially the sponsors of the physical benches. Each bench is sponsored by a local business or individual, who takes possession of said bench after the program has ended.

You’ll some of the benches from years past around town actually. There’s one at town hall and one at the downtown Tinley fire station as two examples.

Today actually happens to be the first day for this year’s program. The 2022 theme is “Animal Adventure” and will take visitors on an animal exhibit without ever leaving Oak Park Avenue! The village’s marketing calls to “Come out to see animals of every kind, including sharks, dogs, lions, otters, fish and much more!”

The Benches on the Avenue program is open to both amateur and professional artists. The annual program is a unique opportunity to exercise creativity 3-dimensionally, for people from all walks of life to enjoy. For reference, think of the Benches on the Avenue as the Met Gala, except the benches are what exhibits the imaginations of the artists, and the red carpet is the avenue.

Another similar type of public art program I remember was the The Lighthouses on The Mag Mile campaign from 2018, which brought awareness to people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veterans.

Who Came Up With The Idea?

The Benches on the Avenue project was created and implemented by the Village of Tinley Park’s Main Street Commission in an effort to beautify the community and showcase downtown Tinley Park. Essentially give people something good to look at while strolling the avenue, with the bonus of providing rest stops along the way.

How To Apply To Design A Bench

Are you an artist who’s itching to create? Anyone with an imagination and a bit of artistic creativity can submit an entry!

The Village looks for artists to create unique, imaginative, designs that are kid and family friendly.

If you would love to participate by designing a bench next year, you should apply! The theme for each year is revealed at the end of the previous year, so keep your eyes out late this fall or in the early part of the new year.

To see a list of previous bench years, visit the Village website at TinleyPark.org/Benches.

Being A Sponsor Of A Bench

SPONSORING A BENCH COST $749 FOR THIS YEAR.

One of the benefits of being a sponsor is exposure for businesses and organizations to tens of thousands of residents and visitors. The method of gaining exposure is the placement of a golden plaque bearing the sponsors name, affixed to a bench *The golden plaque is included in the sponsor price.

Sponsors are also included in the Benches on the Avenue brochure and featured on the village’s website and social media channels.

A good question to ask those who have sponsored a bench in the past is, “did you see an uptick in business from sponsoring? Or “did new business indicate that they discovered you from the Benches program?”

For more information on submitting a design, sponsoring a bench or participating in some way—contact Joanne Carroll at (708) 444-5031 or [email protected].

See you out there!

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