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Frederick Law Olmsted was a key player in Chicago, working with Daneil Burnham on the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Both Olmsted and Burnham were noted for their visionary work and Burnham’s motto— “make no little plans” –continues to inspire today. Indeed, that is the motto of Oak & Oscar, a Chicago based watch company  founded in 2015, which joins NAOP as a celebration partner in 2022. To mark the bicentennial, Oak & Oscar have created three commemorative Olmsted watches to  #CelebrateOlmsted.

Two of the watches will be presented by NAOP President Dede Petri as President’s Awards. This year, the two inaugural recipients are Adrian Benepe and Michael Messner, both members of the Olmsted 200 Honorary Committee, who have provided exceptional support of the bicentennial and championed Olmsted’s work and principles. Please join NAOP in congratulating Benepe and Messner! 

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Olmsted concluded that parks could be for all people and serve as democratic spaces, offering healthful connections to nature and sustainable landscapes vital to successful communities—a radical idea for the early 19th century. Our recipients share his values and invite their communities to think big, take bold actions, and to help sustain and reimagine public spaces that are accessible, useful, and inclusive. 

Benepe gives a toast at NAOP’s Olmsted Birthday Gala in NYC in April 2022

Like Olmsted, Benepe is committed to providing the mental and physical benefits of public parks to all people from all backgrounds. He pays particular attention to neighborhoods that have been historically neglected. 

Messner and his family celebrate Olmsted 200 at NAOP’s Olmsted Birthday Gala in NYC in April 2022

For over two decades, Messner and his family have expanded the public’s knowledge and appreciation of Frederick Law Olmsted. In innovative ways, he has raised the visibility of the Olmsted legacy, including an acclaimed documentary, Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks, narrated by Kerry Washington. 

Both recipients will be honored at a luncheon in San Francisco, CA, on November 14. Messner will attend in-person, while Benepe will join virtually.

Oak & Oscar has created a third watch which will be raffled by them in support of NAOP. $50 raffle tickets are available from November 1 through November 18, with a winner being announced before Thanksgiving. Proceeds benefit the work of NAOP. The watch will be on display in the Olmsted Pavilion at the upcoming ASLA conference. 

To learn more about the Oak & Oscar raffle and how you can purchase tickets from them, scan this QR code: