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Newark Creates, together with Newark and Sherwood District Council and Inspire are asking artists to design book-shaped benches for a public art installation

Ten brightly decorated benches will be popping up around town this summer and local artists are being offered the chance to design them.

Newark Creates have partnered with Wild in Art — the organisation behind the Lincoln Imp Trail and the Shaun the Sheep sculptures at Clumber Park — to produce book shaped benches to coincide with the start of the Newark Book Festival on July 11.

Now, artists are being encouraged to get involved and submit designs for a chance to be featured on the sculptures, which will be a fixture in the town for eight weeks.

A book bench. Credit: David Oates Photography.
A book bench. Credit: David Oates Photography.

Designs should capture the imagination, with a local twist and could take inspiration from the books and nursery rhymes, Newark’s own history, heritage and landmarks, nature and the environment.

Ten artists will be chosen, five of which will come from Newark and Sherwood and have the opportunity to work with community groups to develop their ideas and design.

The other five artists can be from the wider East Midlands area and will work independently to design and paint their sculpture.

Newark Creates was set up in 2021 as one of the Historic England's High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programmes and is responsible for last summer’s colourful umbrella installation.

The group’s aim is to put a spotlight on Newark by celebrating its history, creating new experiences, and making the high street a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and visit.

Carol Newman, director of culture at Inspire, said: “The sculpture trails which Wild in Art have created throughout the country have always been astounding and it’s wonderful that Newark will now boast its own.

“The BookBenches are sure to create a buzz this summer and I’m excited to see the designs which the artists and community groups create.”

Rowan Cozens, portfolio holder for heritage, culture and the arts at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Newark is teeming with hugely talented and creative people so I’m sure that these sculptures will be an incredible sight and a wonderful celebration of culture.

“I look forward to enjoying them around town and I wish good luck to all who apply.”

Creatives interested in taking part can obtain a copy of the artist brief, design template and technical specification by emailing: sara.bullimore@inspireculture.org.uk.

All expressions of interest should be submitted by Friday, February 23.

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