County Seats: A Public Art Project with Regional Scope

County Seats is a unique public project scheduled for summer 2006 that will take art directly to people across a multi-county region while stimulating tourism and helping to promote communities and businesses. Like the cows of Chicago, the ducks of Highland and the bulldogs of Crown Point, County Seats will display uniquely painted sculptures from Memorial Day through Labor Day that will then be auctioned to raise money for community enhancements and scholarships for art students. Unlike these earlier projects that showcased only one community at a time, County Seats will take place in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, giving it regional impact and the potential to identify Northwest Indiana as the greater South Shore, capitalizing on the area’s rich artistic legacy.

Lorelei Weimer, Executive Director, Porter County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Vince Galbiati, Executive Director, Northwest Indiana Forum; Therese Davis, Executive Director, Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County; and John Cain, Executive Director, South Shore Arts unveil the sculpture in Porter County.

Another distinguishing feature about County Seats is the sculptures themselves. Unlike their predecessors, they are an abstract, ovoid shape, rather than a specific creature or object. Designed by NIAA board member Judith Mayer, they are what Judith calls "a blank canvas" that will give participating artists an opportunity to be more artistic and less decorative or thematic.

The brain child of Creative Communities, a team of volunteers that includes organizers of previous public art projects, County Seats are suitable for seating up to four people, two on either side. Moreover, they are constructed of recycled materials rather than being made of entirely virgin fiberglass, thanks to project partners such as the Lake County Solid Waste Management District, the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County and the Solid Waste District of LaPorte County. Waste from the manufacture of solid surface countertops is diverted from a landfill, mixed with resin, and put into a mold to create the final sculptures. The mixture dries to create a very durable surface.

South Shore Arts is serving as the fiscal agent for the project. Businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring a seat can call 219/680.8993 or go to for more information.


County Seats, an outdoor public art project, is seeking artists interested in painting large fiberglass seat sculptures to be displayed throughout Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties in summer 2006. Artists will be paid a stipend of $600. Artists will work with a sponsor to design and paint the seat. The theme for this exhibit is "Life Along
the South Shore."

This is not a juried exhibition. Artists will instead be chosen by each individual sponsor. Submit non-returnable samples of your work (send a CD, provide a web address to view an online portfolio, or send five flat prints or slides of representative work) along with contact information to be included in the list of potential artists. Indicate what city/town(s) for which you wish to work. Artists and/or Sponsors will be responsible for transporting the sculpture. A current list of participating communities can be found at

Deadline to submit: January 31, 2006. The earlier we receive your samples, the sooner you may be chosen by a sponsor.

Mail to South Shore Arts
Attn: County Seats
1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321

Questions, call Judith Mayer at 219/923.5279.