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In collaboration with Marina Lee, Riverworks and our sponsors, we want your input on the new bench designs for the Harambee Neighborhood Tot Lot. Last summer (2019), the first Marina Lee sculpture was added to the Tot Lot.

Marina Lee has created numerous sculptures, decorative hard scapes and benches around Harambee and Riverwest and along the Beerline Trail. Her work is known to withstand not only the weather and children's natural wear and tear, but also the test of time around Milwaukee. 

Scroll through this interactive website to learn more about this project, the artist, and how you can contribute.  With all funding in place, we are ready for you to share your inspirational ideas to influence the design direction of this project! Provide feedback on the form below.





Below are a few examples of previous benches, each individually designed for their specific locations. Every aspect of the design is intentional and meaningful. As we design a bench for the Harambee Tot Lot, it is important that the design is inclusive of the ideas and inspirations from the Harambee Community. Share your ideas in the form below. 


Marina Lee moved to Milwaukee in 1984 to attend Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She received her BFA, then did further study at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. She started her business, Beginning Dreams Forever, in 1997. 

Marina is a working artist. She has made her living selling her artwork at art festivals from Florida to Colorado and everywhere in between. “Public art is my favorite,” she states. “It belongs to everyone, not just the rich.

“I have some phenomenal patrons; I’ve been fortunate that way. But dearest to my heart is putting

something out there in a public place and watching children’s imaginations take off.”


Kids are important in another way to Marina, as well. She has a real talent for getting them involved in the art. “When you get the kids involved, they are absolute geniuses,” she says. “The younger they are the freer their minds are. No one tells them they’re geniuses, but they are.”


Marina’s talent for working with kids has opened up other professional areas for her. She does a lot of public art projects and artist-in-residence programs. Her resume lists almost two hundred projects she has offered over the years in schools, parks, libraries and youth centers.


Sited from the Riverwest Currents Neighborhood Spotlights

Marina Bench.JPG

Beginning Dreams Forever Gallery

833 East Burleigh Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212-2210

(414) 562-3037

You did it! You chose bench design 1 and 5 for the Harambee Tot Lot. We couldn't be happier with your choices. Marina Lee is already hard at work bringing the benches to life. This is just the first phase of the project. The next step is to have them fabricated which will be done in the next couple weeks. The fabrication process also includes adding steel pieces to ensure the benches are sturdy and ready for public use. 


This is what community lead projects are all about. You, the community, choose and we, the stewards of your choices, make it happen. We can't wait to show you more as things develop. The Harambee Tot Lot will be an amazing park space for all to enjoy! 

Harambee Tot Lot Bench Design 1.jpg
Harambee Tot Lot Bench Design 2.jpg
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