Look!: Poetry Benches in Bethesda, MD

Look!: Poetry Benches in Bethesda, MD

Colleen Quinn
Jun 19, 2008

While wandering through Bethesda this weekend, we were delighted to find these whimsical benches marking stops for the Bethesda Circulator (a free trolley service running through downtown Bethesda). The benches are the work of Bodil Meleney, a Norwegian-born artist who lived in Bethesda for 24 years before moving to nearby Takoma Park...

Meleney was one of 500 contestants who submitted proposals when Bethesda Transportation Solutions and the Bethesda Urban Partnership decided to spend $30,000 to attract more attention and riders to the Bethesda Circulator. The benches feature lines of poetry by local poets who competed to participate in the project.

There are 20 benches in total, though we only came upon these five during our rambles. The installation of the benches began in late 2002, but we have somehow never noticed them before (possibly because we don't ride the trolley). We found ourselves captivated by these artful bus-stops, and wish neighboring jurisdictions would consider similar installations.

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