Friday 14 June 2024
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Meet me at the Benches: Art sculpture trail heads to Newark

This summer, a brand new and exciting interactive sculpture trail will be heading to Newark.

You may have heard of popular trails with brightly coloured animal sculptures making a splash in towns across the UK, well this year Newark will be home to its very own unique trail.

Following last year’s successful brightly coloured umbrellas in Newark Market Place, from 11 July coinciding with the launch of the Newark Book Festival, the ‘Newark Creates’ project will be launching ‘Meet Me at the Benches,’ an artistic trail around Newark! These sculptures will be comfortable benches shaped like open books and are designed by artists across the East Midlands.

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

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Dahlia worked with the Newark Book Festival young ambassadors and the Open Doors Creative Influencers and their families through two workshops to deliver an inspiring and unique bench.

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Another bench was designed by students taking Art and Design at Newark College. You can follow the route of all 11 benches with a trail map as you discover the locations as they showcase a range of enchanting themes from the rich history and heritage of Newark to the beauty of nature, from Cultural stories to nursery rhymes!

Not only will each bench be a unique work of art, they will also host pop-up events and workshops. You’ll be able to take part in drop in story-telling sessions and find out more about some of our wonderful community and cultural organisations in Newark!

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Councillor Rowan Cozens, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Arts at Newark and Sherwood District Council 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 BookBenches, 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.”

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

Vicky Kuhn, one of the BookBench 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!”

The BookBenches 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 BookBenches 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 right in their hometown!

All 11 unique BookBenches will be installed around Newark until 5 September 2024, letting families with school aged children explore the historic market town over the summer holidays. All events held at the benches will be free, and there will be a choice of digital or paper trail maps available. For further information about the benches, visit or follow @NewarkCreatesUK on social media.

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