Storybook Art Adventure Trail

 
 

Take a seat!

Twenty-five new limestone benches engraved with inspiring quotes and featuring bronze storybook images were installed in 2019 in downtown Abilene.

Each bench features a quote from a book whose art was exhibited at one time at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. In addition, each bench has a round bronze medallion featuring an image from the book that is perfect for the art of embossing. The images were created by local sculptor Steve Neves, who has created most of the storybook sculptures. The limestone benches were quarried by Texas Hunter’s Stone. City of Abilene employees placed the benches throughout downtown and installed the bronze medallions.

The bench project is called the “Storybook Art Adventure Trail.” Visitors can begin the art adventure in the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden, which is already home to benches engraved with storybook quotes, and make their way down Cypress, Cedar and N. 1st streets to discover the new benches and create their own unique embossing. The NCCIL and the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau at the T&P Depot, 1101 N. 1st St., are selling $1 gold foil embossing kits.
Lynn Barnett, executive director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, said the Storybook Art Adventure Trail is one more way the city is creating awareness to the public that it is the “Storybook Capital of America.”


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Storybook Capital Downtown Street Signs

Award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce says it feels like Christmas.

That’s because the City of Abilene installed honorary street sign “Santa Calls Lane” at Cedar and North 1st named after his 1993 book, “Santa Calls.” The book was set on a fictional Abilene ranch, and it started the city on a very real journey to becoming the Storybook Capital of Texas and America. The book led to the establishment of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, followed by the Storybook Sculpture Project and the annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival.

“Bill Joyce is a founder of the NCCIL and has been a wonderful supporter of the storybook sculptures and Storybook Capital theme from the beginning,” said Lynn Barnett, executive director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council. “’Childhood’s Great Adventure’ based on his book ‘Santa Calls’ was our first storybook sculpture, so it seemed only natural to honor him.”

After seeing the new signage, Joyce commented on social media that “today is Christmas for me.”

The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council is the designated arts council for the city. The council, in partnership with the NCCIL, approached the City of Abilene several months ago about the possibility of adding honorary streets signs downtown. The City Council approved the idea, and new signage was designed with the Storybook Capital of America logo. “Santa Calls Lane” was installed at the intersection just outside the NCCIL, and “Storybook Way” was added at Cypress Street intersections.

“Santa Calls Lane” extends down Cedar from N. 1st to North 3rd streets. “Storybook Way” extends down Cypress Street from N. 1st to N. 6th Street.

Barnett said the permanent signage will enhance the city’s reputation as the Storybook Capital of America.