Five park benches were transformed from simple pine to wonderfully whimsical pieces of art in a recent project co-sponsored by the Lexington Park Lions Club and St. Mary’s County Arts Council.  The art pieces were revealed with much anticipation at the recent Cherry Blossom Festival at the Lexington Manor Passive Park.

The artists were selected from a call for proposals held in January 2022 with the winning submissions chosen based upon an emphasis on creative color palettes in conjunction with themes of nature.  

Following several rounds of a juried process, artists Ruby Bassford, Lea Craigie-Marshall, Michael Evans, Tom Rogers, and Nicole Stewart were picked based on their presentations and designed the benches listed below:

“Sleepy Fox” by Ruby Bassford finds a slumbering friendly forest creature surrounded by fireflies in an enchanted and wooded setting. The seat of the bench includes paw prints entwined with moss and leaves with mushrooms rooted in and growing upwards from the ground.

“Night Blossoms” by Lea Craigie-Marshall highlights nocturnal pollinators, specifically the Luna Moth. It also features cherry blossoms and a nighttime sky filled with a celestial scene of stars and nebula. No need to wait for spring, visitors can enjoy the flowers all year round!

“Jellyfish” by Michael Evans shines radiantly with shimmery flecks of gold adrift in a peaceful water setting. Even the bubbles have metallic accents as part of a symbiotic relationship in this beautiful piece portraying a most intriguing water creature.

“Butterfly Bench 1” by Tom Rogers is a stunning design of traditional monarch colorings blended with a background of lively and bright teal. This piece portrays a tribute to change and transformation including a carefully crafted silhouette emerging from the depths of dual wings.

The “Sun and Moon” project reflects two solar entities which the artist, Nicole Stewart, often drew in her childhood. Their two friendly faces were recurring themes of Nicole’s past artistic endeavors with the bench design reflective of memories of her youth.

The Lexington Manor Passive Park is a 40-acre parcel owned by St. Mary’s County and operated by the St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks. The parcel was formerly the site of the Lexington Manor housing project, built in the 1940s as military housing for employees of the Patuxent River Naval Base. The housing was torn down in the 1980s but many of the cherry trees that were planted from the beginning still remain.

This location is currently the focus of ongoing revitalization plans and includes an Arts Park, a disc golf course, an Interpretive Center, and much more. Other recent improvements include new trails, roadways, and designated areas for non-motorized transit.

Be sure to stop by to enjoy the many amenities (plus more coming soon!) and see the amazing benches created by our local artists. Both fun and functional, they are a perfect spot for taking a break, reading a book, visiting with friends, and capturing a photo or two! Each and everyone is painted from top to bottom, an in-person visit is a must to see the stunning details from all sides!

To learn more about the Lexington Manor Passive Park including its address and hours of operation visit

For future updates and news see the St. Mary’s County Recreation & Parks website at: 

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