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New ‘Meet Me at the Benches' book themed art trail to launched July 11 during Newark Book Festival, organised by Newark and Sherwood District Council and Inspire Culture, Learning and Libraries, featuring designs by East Midlands artists





This summer, a brand new and interactive sculpture trail will be heading to town, hoping to turn heads as well as pages.

Newark Town Centre will play host to a book themed art trail from July 11 to coincide with the start of Newark Book Festival, but will be enjoyed all summer long until September 5.

‘Meet Me at the Benches’ is a project organised by Newark Creates and will see 11 book shaped benches dotted around the town, which have been designed by talented artists from across the East Midlands.

The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail is coming to Newark from July 11 to coincide with the launch of the Newark Book Festival. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.
The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail is coming to Newark from July 11 to coincide with the launch of the Newark Book Festival. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.

The trail is similar to other projects which has seen things such as brightly coloured animal sculptures adding a splash of colour in towns across the UK.

Once the trail has launched, a map will help visitors to follow the route of all 11 benches as they showcase a range of themes from the rich history and heritage of Newark or the beauty of nature, to cultural stories, literature and nursery rhymes.

Each bench be a unique work of art and will also host pop-up events and workshops, where people can take part in drop in story-telling sessions, or find out more about some of the community and cultural organisations in Newark.

One bench was created by artist Dahlia Lee who worked with community groups to gather their ideas on what the bench should look like.

Dahlia worked with the Newark Book Festival young ambassadors and the Open Doors Creative Influencers and their families through two workshops to come up with her unique bench. Another bench was designed by students taking Art and Design at Newark College.

The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail will feature 11 unique benches designed by artists from across the East Midlands. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.
The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail will feature 11 unique benches designed by artists from across the East Midlands. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Vicky Kuhn, one of the artists said, “I’m so excited to be a part of a project that celebrates Newark and its people's love of literature.

“I hope that the benches bring people from far and wide to take part in the trail and enjoy what the town has to offer.”

Rowan Cozens, Newark and Sherwood District Council’s portfolio holder for heritage, culture and the arts, said, “I am delighted that this wonderful trail will be coming to Newark this summer.

“Last year’s umbrellas were so well received by all our town centre visitors, and I am sure that the Book Benches, this year will prove equally as popular.

“I hope many people are encouraged to visit our town centre to enjoy, not only the trail, but all that Newark has to offer, from our unique and independent retailers and cafes to our iconic castle and its beautiful gardens.

“Newark really is a special place, and this trail is the icing on the cake.”

The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail will feature 11 unique benches designed by artists from across the East Midlands. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.
The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail will feature 11 unique benches designed by artists from across the East Midlands. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.
The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail will feature 11 unique benches designed by artists from across the East Midlands. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.
The ‘Meet Me at the Benches' art trail will feature 11 unique benches designed by artists from across the East Midlands. Photo: Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Carol Newman, director of culture at Inspire Libraries. said, “I’m delighted that the community of Newark and Sherwood will be able to enjoy the amazing, bespoke Book Bench sculptures from Wild in Art this summer, part of the ongoing, extensive Newark Creates cultural programme.”

The Book Benches will be brought to the town centre by Newark’s Cultural Consortium, led by Newark and Sherwood District Council and Inspire Culture, Learning and Libraries.

They are funded by the Arts Council England and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is providing £2.6 billion of new funding to local authorities to bid for to invest in unique opportunities within their district.

The Book Benches are built by Wild In Art, an established body appreciative of the culture of Newark and the surrounding area.

Since 2008, Wild in Art have animated cities across the world including Sydney, Cape Town, and São Paulo, and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and Historic Royal Palaces.

Now, they are helping to bring this unique installation to Newark where people can see world-class art in their hometown.



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