ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Storybook Capitol of America is preparing for its 10th Children’s Art and Literary Festival, where many events are held, including an unveiling of a sculpture in the storybook garden. This year, the sculpture was created by a local art professor who has done some artwork for Abilene before. 

When you walk into the Adamson Spalding Storybook Garden in downtown Abilene, it is usually a relaxing experience, as you walk around looking at sculptures, hearing the birds chirping or the cars drive by. 

Only once a year, you will hear sounds like drills and hammers, as a new statue is installed. The City of Abilene parks department came to this garden to add “Winnie,” a sculpture of a bear, which is based off Sophie Blackall’s book, “Finding Winnie.” Blackall was chosen to be honored this year. Steve Neves, Art Professor at Hardin Simmons and local artist, was asked to sculpt this piece. He has done artwork for Abilene before, but this is his first time sculpting for the garden. He says transforming characters from paper to 3D is exciting for children. 

“These characters they’ve seen in two dimensions, they get to actually interact with them and climb on them,” says Neves. 

After 9 months of work on this sculpture, it is finally placed in the garden. 

“It’s a real honor, and it’s a lot of fun,” Neves states. 

Lynn Barnett, Executive Director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, saying that these sculptures help Abilene become more well-known. 

“We’re getting known more and more across the United States, and so it’s these sculptures. . .” 

Barnett also says that it makes Abilene more family oriented. 

“It’s all of these things that put the focus on family and children in our town,” Barnett explains. 

Neves says that this garden has helped Abilene come to life. 

“It has been activated and people get to enjoy these beautiful live oaks and be a part of the city and just interact with it.” 

This garden will soon be packed full of people looking at the sculpture, as it was installed just before the 10th Children’s Art and Literacy Festival, beginning on June 9th and lasting until the 11th. There will be many events at the festival this year, including a ventriloquist, a marionette show, train rides, dramatic readings, and more. Barnett explains that this event really encourages children and families to get excited about reading. If you are interested in attending the festival, click here to register, or call the Cultural Affairs Council.