Kyle Schlagenhauf is pictured by the Mendocino Triple Junction bench. (Courtesy of the Schlagenhaufs)
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Humboldt County mason Kyle Schlagenhauf has worked on projects near and far, small and large, over the last two decades.

His latest piece, a sturdy bench he and his wife and business partner, Amber Schlagenhauf, designed and built using three types of regional stone, can be seen locally along Eureka’s waterfront. Their bench — and seven others along the same stretch — are the end result of $90,000 recently awarded by the California Arts Council to the Ink People Center for the Arts and the city of Eureka to create a series of artistic benches that focus on the history of Eureka.

The Schlagenhaufs, who operate Green Man Builders in Arcata, received $10,000 of the award money for their work making the Mendocino Triple Junction bench. The other participating artists also received $10,000 for each bench they designed, built and installed. Seven of the benches are now in place along the length of the Eureka Waterfront Trail, and the eighth will be completed soon. (The remaining $10,000 from the award was used to fund Eureka’s recent Arts and Culture Festival.)

“It’s important to value our artists and be able to pay them. It’s important to try to find resources to compensate folks for their efforts,” said Donna Wood, deputy director of the city of Eureka Community Services Department, who worked closely with Libby Maynard, Ink People executive director, on the bench project.

The Schlagenhaufs’ bench is located on the southern part of the Hikshari’ Trail.

Diego Harris create this bench based on the Kinetic Grand Championship. (Diego Harris — Contributed)

Other artists creating benches include:

·  Jona Kavanaugh, whose Timber Heritage bench is located by the amphitheater at Halvorsen Park ·

· Alme Allen, whose concrete stools and ground painting — located past the Samoa Bridge before Blue Ox Mill — represent the Wiyot culture

· Yannis Stefanakis, who has a fishing industry inspired bench at the Wharfinger Marina and a marine life bench that doubles as a play structure at the Del Norte Street Pier

· Diego Harris, whose bench, “Steam Engine,” represents the local railroad industry and is located behind Target. His other bench, a tribute to the Kinetic Grand Championship, is located at Halvorsen Park.

Diego Harris’ Steam Engine bench is inspired by the local railroad industry. (Diego Harris — Contributed)

“There was a series of themes that the bench designs were supposed to be based on and installed in specific locations,” Kyle Schlagenhauf said. “The themes relate to Eureka’s history, culture and environment.”

The Schlagenhaufs came up with their idea based on the seismic activity and resulting geologic formations of the Mendocino Triple Junction area, off the coast of Cape Mendocino, according to the Eureka Community Services blog, https://eurekaparksandrec.wordpress.com. The bench includes three regional stones, selected to interpret the tectonic relationship of the three plates that converge near the shore. The North American plate is represented by granite, the Pacific Plate by schist and the Gorda Plate by basalt.

Alme Allen’s concrete stools and ground painting reflect the Wiyot culture. (City of Eureka — Contributed)

The Mendocino Triple Junction bench is one of many benches Kyle Schlagenhauf has worked on over the years. In addition to creating a host of stonework for local homes and businesses, some of his other projects include designing and fabricating a granite bench for the Bolinas Children’s Center; helping construct a 140-footlong Castle Wall at the Portland Japanese Garden; serving as lead stonecutter and foreman for a Japanese Castle Wall around the New Rolex Building in Dallas, Texas; and creating a stairway for the Mendocino Art Center. He also served as lead mason for a drystone amphitheater on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.

“This incredible project, well received by over five million visitors a year, awoke Kyle to the intrinsic rewards of creating public spaces,” Amber Schlagenhauf said of the Grand Canyon project. “We have since sought out opportunities to share the potential of stone with our community manifesting in parks, monuments and stone play structures.”

Not long ago, she was doing some research on public art projects in the local area and found an announcement about the city of Eureka/Ink People benches. The couple submitted a bid for the project, which was accepted.

Diego Harris of Upper Lake was also chosen to take part by creating two benches for Eureka’s Waterfront Trail. He’s been welding for years and has been creating large sculptures and benches for about a decade. His Kinetic Grand Championship bench was designed to convey a sense of motion without really moving. His other piece, the “Steam Engine” bench, commemorates the railroad industry. Harris said he used a variety of materials in the production of that piece, including gears, brake wheels and other railroad scrap from the Timber Heritage Association yard.

“The Kinetic one, I had to make it look like a lot of movement. … That one,” he said, “is a little more sculptural, as far as an art piece. The steam engine … has more of an industry flair.”

Bench Crawl

The public is invited to “interact” with these new benches along the waterfront via the “Great Eureka Bench Crawl.” Through Monday at 8 p.m., everyone is invited to visit any or all of the new benches and snap a photo of them interacting with the bench — sitting on it, posing with it or getting artsy with it. Tag photos with #EurekaBenchCrawl2018 and upload pictures to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. A random drawing of entries will take place later this week, with one person winning a $50 certificate to a local restaurant.

 

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