Published: 06:00, 14 May 2021
Visitors to two parks can pause for a poetic interlude with verse placed on benches.
A series of 10 plaques, each with a line of poetry, are now in Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens in Dover.
They are in time for Mental Health Awareness Week, which continues until Sunday and this year has the theme of Connect With Nature.
They are also part of Art in the Park: Kearsney Interpreted, a creative collaboration with Dover Arts Development (DAD) and funded by the Arts Council.
Local poets, visual artists and musicians contributed to the Park Bench project, which has the verse both in words and braille.
The works were also brought together into a video with an original soundtrack by Dover Arts Development.
The lines of poetry were chosen by Year 9 pupils at Astor College.
"The past year has underlined how important our parks and open spaces are to our mental well-being."
They came from local artists Sophie Aunger, Fiona Beddow, Richard Bundy, Paul Dagys, John Fuller, Chevonne Lane, Robert Marsh, Petra Matthews-Crow, Simon Partridge, and Gavin Wright.
Jennifer Coller, Kearsney Parks project manager, said: “The past year has underlined how important our parks and open spaces are to our mental well-being.
" There’s nothing like a stroll through the park or a moment of reflection sat on a park bench to clear the mind. "
Walking in the open has been one of the few forms of exercise available during the pandemic lockdowns, with places such as gyms and swimming pools closed.
Exercise as long been known to aid mental health.
Mr Coller added: “We’re delighted to have worked with the Arts Council and Dover Arts Development to use the Kearsney Parks as a canvas for local artists."
Alongside the Park Bench project, Art in the Park: Kearsney Interpreted also features 10 artist residencies.
They are designed to explore the landscape designs, ecology, social and industrial heritage of the parks.
They feature a number of recently graduated and early career artists from the local area, and provide art forms also including, sculpture, poetry and films.