Benches bring whimsical beauty to new art park


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

Artists were selected from a call for submissions held in January 2022 and winning submissions were chosen based on their focus on creative color palettes in conjunction with nature themes.

After several rounds of a judging process, artists Ruby Bassford, Lea Craigie-Marshall, Michael Evans, Tom Rogers and Nicole Stewart were chosen based on their submissions and designed the benches listed below:

Ruby Bassford’s “Sleepy Fox” finds a friendly sleeping forest creature surrounded by fireflies in an enchanted, woodland setting. The seat of the bench features moss and leaf intertwined paw prints with rooted mushrooms sprouting upwards from the ground.

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

Michael Evans’ “Jellyfish” shines brightly with shimmering golden reflections drifting in a peaceful aquatic setting. Even the bubbles have metallic accents as part of a symbiotic relationship in this beautiful piece depicting a most intriguing aquatic creature.

“Butterfly Bench 1” by Tom Rogers is a stunning design of traditional monarch colors mixed with a vivid and bright teal background. This piece represents a tribute to change and transformation, including a carefully crafted silhouette emerging from the depths of two wings.

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

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

This location is currently undergoing ongoing revitalization plans and includes an arts park, disc golf course, interpretive center and more. Other recent improvements include new trails, roads, and designated areas for non-motorized transit.

Be sure to stop by to enjoy the many amenities (and more coming soon!) and see the amazing benches created by our local artists. Both fun and functional, they’re a perfect place to take a break, read a book, visit friends and snap a photo or two! Each is painted from top to bottom, an in-person visit is a must to see the stunning detail from all sides!

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

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


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