Eleven benches, crafted by local and regional furniture artists, not only furnish the galleries but also provide an important link between the Museum and New England artists. The Museum has commissioned benches by Silas Kopf, Kristina Madsen, Dale Broholm, Hank Gilpin, Judy Kensley McKie, Rick Wrigley, Polly Cassel, Rosanne Somerson, Mark Del Guidice, Wendy Stayman, and Jason Berg.
Hank Gilpin's profound respect for—and love of—the nature and beauty of wood is evident in all of his furniture. For this project, he chose white oak for its attractiveness, durability, and character. It is the very nature of the wood—what he calls “plankiness” (its innate simple elegance)—that he finds so appealing. As he has written, “The swirls, curls, and whorls all offer delight to the eye. Who isn’ttempted by the ring-porous oaks and elms, with their tales of rapid growth, ...hard-year rings and dynamic face grain?”