Creativity in Festival Place

Eight Artists Hard at Work for Sitting With Jane

Over the last few weeks eight artists have been working in Festival Place creating works of art as part of the Sitting With Jane art trail project.

‘Sitting With Jane’ is a public art trail in Basingstoke, Hampshire this summer, the trail is made up of 24 ‘BookBenches’, that act 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, and the ‘Jane Austen 200 – A life in Hampshire’. Sitting With Jane is being organised by not-for-profit company Destination Basingstoke, and the headline sponsor is Festival Place.

The artists have been in Queen Anne’s Walk, next door to Beaverbrooks since the end of February and shoppers have been able to get a glimpse of some of the designs taking shape.

“It has been fantastic to have the artists in Festival Place, it isn’t often you get a chance to see how artists work up close – they have been able to chat with shoppers about the project and their work. We can’t wait until we see all of the finished BookBenches in June, its such an exciting project to bring to Festival Place and Basingstoke”, said Steven Connolly Centre Director of Festival Place.




Artists: top left to right: Fatima Pantoja from Basingstoke, Katy Stevens from Tadley, Michelle Heron from London, Julia Brooker from Cardiff, Sian Storey from Basingstoke, Jonathan Chapman from Winchester, Lois Cordelia from Ipswich and Corinne Marsh from Overton.

Some of the artists are local – others have travelled to be in Basingstoke.

“I hadn’t been to Basingstoke before and I’ve been really impressed with the town and thoroughly enjoyed talking to shoppers about what I’ve been doing”, said Julia Brooker.

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.

Jane Austen was born, and spent 25 of her 41 years living in a village just outside Basingstoke, this project will help to celebrate her roots in the area 200 years after her death.