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Abilene Cultural Affairs Council breaks ground on sculpture garden

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ABILENE, Texas - Work is underway on a sculpture garden - outside the Abilene Civic Center - that will feature characters like Charlotte and Wilbur from "Charlotte's Web" and "Stuart Little" in a canoe.

Inspired by Garth Williams and his illustrations, the garden will open to the public during the 2017 Children's Art & Literacy Festival on June 8, 9 and 10.

It is an extension of Abilene's storybook project aimed at encouraging children to read.

"Because he is so iconic we thought we would really celebrate his work and make it special," said Lynn Barnett, executive director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council. "Honestly we think if you can get kids interested in reading then your whole world will open up."

The city already has 18 other sculptures taken from the pages of children's literature. The first one was built in 1996, The Childhood's Great Adventure.

Each new sculpture will be created by local artist Steve Neves.

A generation tree will be at the center of the garden and allow individuals to purchase leaves - with their names added - that will be added to the tree. The sculpture garden will cost more than $500,000 and be paid for with private donations and a $90,000 grant.

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