The Story Behind Bench Mark Program’s Graffiti Wall Art

Local artist Patrick Willig shares his inspiration behind BMP's graffiti wall art.

Bench Mark Program is focused on investing in at-risk youth by providing positive, long-lasting support needed to achieve future goals and success. The program matches youth from the community with mentors who also act as trainers, teaching kids through weightlifting, exercise, academic counseling, and career development. The guidance these mentors give provides sustainable leadership training and growth. Fig Lancaster is partnering with Bench Mark Program all year long as part of the Community Supporter program (read more about it here).

The Arts & Culture Issue of Fig Lancaster magazine is launching soon. In the spirit of spotlighting the power of the arts within the community, we wanted to take a look at the incredible graffiti artwork on the walls of our Social Mission Partner Bench Mark Program.

We chatted with local artist Patrick Willig to hear the inspiration behind his vibrant graffiti art!

Artist Patrick Willig stands with his finished graffiti art at Bench Mark Program. 

Meet The Artist: Patrick Willig

Patrick Willig grew up in Lancaster and always had an artistic eye, but it wasn’t until sixth grade that he really started working on graffiti artwork.

“My art teacher had someone come in and talk about graffiti art,” said Patrick. “He taught us how we could use this art form and how we could do it.”

Patrick’s interest piqued, and he started to explore this new way to create.

“I started doing walls for friends and family,” said Patrick. “It took a lot of practice, but it’s a fun art to do.”

For the Bench Mark Program’s design, Patrick met with Will Kiefer, founder of BMP, to collaborate on concepts.

“For projects like this I usually go to the location, get their ideas, and get their background,” said Patrick. “After talking with Will, I got a lot of inspiration for the art, especially with how to use their logo in the design.”

The Bench Mark Program logo has five points, with each representing something different including perseverance and commitment. These words appear on the wall to offer extra motivation for the students.

Energy + Art

“The kids comment on the talent of the graffiti artist,” said Will Kiefer, founder of BMP. “Everyone assumes graffiti is easy, but our students know how hard it is to create detailed, beautiful design through a spray can. They comment on the fact that the graffiti makes them feel welcome in the space, and that the colors make the small gym space feel bigger.”

The art energizes the space, and helps encourage motivation in the fitness routines.

“The vibrant colors fill the space with positive energy, the kind of thing that improves your mood without you even knowing it,” added Will. “The graffiti is also designed to replicate art that our students might see on walls of buildings in their neighborhoods. It makes them feel welcome and helps them to recognize that this is ‘their gym’.”

Get Involved

Find out more about Bench Mark Program online on their website. If you’re interested in mentoring, want to donate to the mission, or have ideas to help, feel free to contact the team. Fig is excited to be alongside Bench Mark Program in 2018 and looks to strengthen that partnership far into the future.

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