Pupils from 10 Basingstoke schools have ‘booked’ their place at a public exhibition that celebrates Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary.
Their mini bookbenches will be showcased alongside full-size benches from professional artists at ‘Sitting with Jane’, a public art exhibition featuring dozens of the sculptures scattered around the area that have been designed by the artists along a theme from the writer.
“It has been a joy to see the enthusiasm and dedication that local children have showed towards this project,” said Marcia Burnett from VIVID, which funded the schools project through a grant.
“It has given budding young artists of tomorrow a public platform and also underlines the creative talent we still have in our town, even 200 years after the passing of Jane Austen whose creative legacy lives on today.”
One of the aims of the ‘Sitting with Jane’ project is to encourage children to explore the words of Jane Austen and to give a platform for young artistic talent in the town.
Schools that have contributed include Chawton CE Primary, the village where Jane Austen spent the last few years of life, and North Waltham School, a couple of miles from Steventon, the village where Austen grew up and wrote some of her most famous novels.
Festival Place will be exhibiting the youngsters’ book bench designs between May 26 and June 2.
Once it is is over, they will be returned to the schools as a permanent reminder of the contribution Jane Austen made to literature.
Sally-Ann Wilkinson, director of Wild in Art which has assisted with the project, said: “We’re delighted that our bookbench sculpture has brought together children’s creativity, visual arts, local history and learning about one of the country’s most treasured authors.”