Education

Polytech Students' Chairs Part of Borough Art project

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Charles Lachner (center) a teacher in Hunterdon County Polytech’s construction program, directs students Jason Shapiro and Hunter Groelly on the craft of building Adirondack chairs. Credits: courtesy photo
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Tim Bebout and Ann Meredith of Flemington Community Partnership (seated, center) are surrounded by students in Hunterdon Polytech’s construction and automotive collision programs. Credits: courtesy photo
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A handful of chairs built and primed by students in Polytech students are ready to be painted by artists in the ‘Let’s Sit Together’ program. Credits: courtesy photo
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Hunterdon Polytech students Jason Shapiro and Hunter Groelly work on one of the 40 chairs under construction. Credits: courtesy photo
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FLEMINGTON, NJ - Students at Hunterdon County Polytech are putting the finishing touches on 40 Adirondack chairs they’re building for a community art and “creative place-making” project.

The chairs are part of Flemington Community Partnership’s “Let’s Sit Together” program, which aims to entice more people to visit and enjoy the borough.

Once the chairs are built, they’ll be individually painted by local artists and placed around Flemington for permanent use, generally in sets of two with small tables in between, according to an FCP press release. 

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“We want people to relax and enjoy the whimsicality of the chairs while also enjoying the charm and delights of our historic town,” said FCP Executive Director Ann Meredith. “We’re very grateful to the Polytech students and their teachers for their time, energy and talent in making this project a reality.” 

FCP board member Tim Bebout, who owns Main Street Manor, echoed her sentiments after watching the chairs being built. “We’re all very impressed by the excellent quality of the students’ craftsmanship,” he said. 

The Polytech end of the project is unique because it’s the first time students in the construction program have built chairs, as opposed to sheds, roofs and an occasional small home. The project is also out of the ordinary for Polytech because the automotive collision students are teaming up with those in the construction program and priming each chair after it’s built. Once again, the automotive collision students have painted many varieties of cars and trucks, but they’ve never worked on chairs.

“The students are doing a great job,” said Charles Lachner, a teacher in Polytech’s construction program, adding that the detail work on the chairs is quite intricate. Based on a design he found on the Internet, the students are cutting, assembling and sanding about 1,640 pieces of pressure-treated southern yellow pine, many of which require special handling so they can be properly curved and sturdy when completed.

The project began in April and is scheduled to be finished by the students sometime before the end of the school year, with about half the chairs already built and primed.

When completed, they will be delivered to the artists chosen by FCP. Finished chairs are expected to be installed the 4th of July.

“Our students expand their skills with every project, and those skills will stay with them after they graduate and begin careers,” said Tanya Nalesnik, Assistant Business Administrator for the Hunterdon County Vocational School District.

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