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Meet me at the benches in Newark this summer

Posted onPosted on 24th May

A new interactive sculpture trail featuring book benches is coming to Newark this summer.

Following last year’s successful brightly coloured umbrellas in Newark Market Place, from 11th July and coinciding with the launch of Newark Book Festival, the Newark Creates project will be launching the Meet Me at the Benches trail.

The 11 sculptures will be comfortable benches, shaped like open books and designed by artists across the East Midlands.

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

Dahlia worked with the festival’s young ambassadors and the Open Doors Creative Influencers and their families, through two workshops, to create a bench.

The benches showcase a range of themes from the rich history and heritage of Newark to the beauty of nature, from cultural stories to nursery rhymes.

They will also host pop-up events and workshops, where people can take part in drop-in storytelling sessions and find out more about community and cultural organisations in Newark.

Coun 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 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, added: “I’m delighted that the community of Newark and Sherwood will be able to enjoy the amazing, bespoke 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!”

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 £2.6bn of new funding to local authorities to bid for to invest in unique opportunities within their district.

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 5th September, 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.