BETHLEHEM Benjamin Cocco loved to draw, play music and build items from his imagination. When his life was cut short at the age of 12 in a bike-car accident, his parents knew the best way to keep his memory alive.
“Benjamin was just so much fun, and he was so artistic. All he ever did was make things,” said his mother, Mary Cocco. “He was extremely creative, and we just know there are a lot of other children out there who are extremely creative, too, or who are but just don’t know that.”
Ben’s Jammin’ Art Project was born. For nearly the past four years, Mary and John Cocco have been getting into the Bethlehem community and, through their nonprofit organization, introducing the arts to the young and old. Now, with a new brick-and-mortar home, they’re hoping to reach more people than ever.
Their new venture is at 1569 New Scotland Road, in the same building as Toll Gate Ice Cream. In addition to a space in which art classes of all sorts can be held, the front of the store is now home to Ben’s Jammin’ Treasures.
The Coccos have created the space to fill with the works of local artisans, and when it’s up and running, you’ll be able to find jewelry, pottery, stained glass, wooden items, soaps, candles and recycled and refurnished house wares of all types. It’s an eclectic mix – there’s even a florist who does mixed plant arrangements, terrariums and silks. The Treasures shop will help finance the Art Project arm of the organization.
It’s a big step for Ben’s Jammin’ Art Project. The space will let the Coccos more easily hold classes that focus on painting, drawing, sewing, clay, music – just about any medium imaginable. Right now, the program is probably best known from a regular presence at the Delmar Farmers Market, where every Saturday they set up shop to work on arts and crafts projects with kids.