Take a stroll in downtown Lexington and points elsewhere and you’ll find an inviting spot: 37 benches fan out like the open pages of a book. Each is hand-painted by local artists and themed around works by Kentucky authors.
Book Benches, a public art exhibit, promotes Kentucky’s literary heritage and encourages reading while also showcasing the arts.
Bourbon County artist Sarah Spradlin created the Rivers of Kentucky bench, sponsored by friends and family of authors David and Lalie Dick. David also wrote Kentucky Living’s “The View From Plum Lick” back-page column, which ran from 1986 until his passing in 2010.
Spradlin chose this book to illustrate because she kayaks and supports the stewardship of our state’s waters. “I paint Kentucky landscapes and believe in using my artwork to increase the awareness of the natural beauty of Kentucky,” says Spradlin. “Reading the book feels like a visit with a couple in love with each other and Kentucky.”
The 2001 nonfiction book takes readers on a journey to Kentucky’s major rivers and the people who inhabit their shores—tugboat pilots, artists, tool sharpeners, musicians, printers, fox hunters and chairmakers.
On public display through October, the benches will delight all ages, especially young readers. Use your phone to scan the QR code on the bench to learn more about the book, author and artist.
On November 17, the benches will be auctioned at a gala to be held at The Livery, 238 East Main Street, Lexington. Proceeds from the event go toward Arts Connect, LexArts and the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.
For more information, go to www.bookbencheslex.org, where you can view all the benches and download a map to their locations.