Call for Artists

Destination Basingstoke is calling for artists to submit inspirational designs with a Jane Austen theme as part of their Sitting With Jane project to celebrate Jane Austen’s life in and around Basingstoke, where she was born and lived half her life.

The Wild in Art event, delivered by Destination Basingstoke and in association with Festival Place, is a public art trail that will be staged in the summer of 2017.

The artists’ designs will painted onto a template ‘BookBench’, that acts as a 3D canvas – making the finished piece, not only a work of art, but an attractive piece of street furniture that will be accessible for all to see and sit on, to contemplate the artist, Jane Austen, or the scene and landscape where it is located. It will form part of a worldwide celebration of Jane Austen’s life.

This exciting project is a chance for artists to think about and interpret a whole range of ideas and themes that could be linked to Jane Austen, with a BookBench as their canvas, a piece of art that will be placed in and around places that she knew and landscapes that influenced her, accessible to all.

The project is expected to generate wide public interest and PR on and off line, so offers a fantastic, high profile opportunity for visual artists of all types to get their work noticed in a paid for commission.

Wild in Art have worked on similar events all over the world and are renown for high quality, high profile and exciting events, Sitting With Jane will be their first event with a specific literary theme.

‘We are proud to be working with Destination Basingstoke on such a prestigious project.  We look forward to a wide range of designs and different interpretations of all aspects of Jane Austen’s important contribution to literature be brought to life and celebrated by artists.   The BookBench sculpture offers artists the opportunity to visually tell Jane Austen’s stories; the characters as well as her life and bring enjoyment to thousands of people from around the world”, said Sally-Ann Wilkinson, director of Wild in Art.

Regional artists with innovative designs, in any suitable medium, that are inspired by Jane Austen are invited to submit by 1st December 2016. Artists packs can be downloaded from here.

There may be a temptation to think that Jane Austen and her novels about drawing room etiquette 200 years ago, have little relevance to life in Basingstoke today, but the continuing popularity of her novels is due to their timeless themes of love, social etiquette, feminism – stories told with wit and a sharp observational understanding of human nature.