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Art Roots - Grizedale

  • Date: 21 June 2012
  • Area: North
lights in the forest

Illuminated Forest, 2008, Charlotte McGowan-Griffin.

Grizedale Forest, 10 square miles of natural woodland in the Lake District near Coniston Water, is a large area of completely open, accessible, and free forest and path which is managed and maintained by Forestry Commission England. It is the UK's first forest for sculpture - its history as a site for sculpture in the landscape was established in 1977, by the then Grizedale Society, now Grizedale Arts based at Lawson Park. The Art Roots Grizedale programme is led by Forestry Commission England and will re-establish Grizedale Forest as a centre of international excellence for art and sculpture in the environment.

The Art Roots Grizedale initiative is part of the Arts Council's national partnership work with the Forestry Commission. It will develop high quality and artistically innovative work, providing opportunities for leading and emerging artists to deliver excellence in public art in a forest environment.

In October 2011 two major new works were launched at Grizedale Forest as part of Art Roots Grizedale - The Clockwork Forest by greyworld, and The Wood for the Trees by muf architecture/art. Earlier this year, the TERRA exhibition attracted more than 3,700 people to a thought-provoking exhibition of contemporary sculpture by artists from across the UK. Art Roots, the new exhibition that has just opened at Grizedale Forest, is presenting work by 10 artists who have been commissioned to create new site-specific sculpture in the forest landscape.

The Art Roots exhibition - which opened on 2 June and runs until 2 September - presents the developing works by internationally renowned and emerging artists, including:

Laura Ford who is recognised internationally as one of the UK's leading sculptors. Ford has exhibited internationally and represented Wales at the Venice Biennale in 2005. 

Tania Kovats who created the work TREE commissioned for the Natural History Museum to celebrate Darwin's bicentenary in 2009 and who has made many works in the public realm concerned with our experience and understanding of landscape.

Andrew Sabin, whose artwork The Coldstones Cut, has attracted more than 30,000 visitors to the Yorkshire Dales since its unveiling in 2010.

Keith Wilson who was an art expert for Channel 4 and whose work Steles was recently unveiled at the London 2012 Olympic Park.

Hayley Skipper, Arts Development Curator at Grizedale Forest, said: 'The Art Roots exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to engage visitors with the outstanding group of artists that we are currently working with in the forest, and the work they are creating.

'The artists' work in the exhibition will give a flavour of their individual practices as well as their response to the Grizedale Forest landscape itself. This is an exceptional opportunity to see work by a range of artists who are engaged with the practice of making sculpture in, and for, this unique environment.'

The new Art Roots exhibition will bring the entire visitor centre to life and will present the works in a variety of different media, including sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, 16mm film and video. There are artist-led workshops running through the summer in conjunction with the exhibition for schools and community groups to get involved in.

Pupils from both Hawkshead and Esthwaite and Levens Valley Primary Schools have been involved in site visits and research and development workshops with greyworld the artists and together they created The Clockwork Forest, an interactive sound sculpture for the Ridding Wood Trail.

This innovative new work continues the development of sound sculptures created for this all-ability access trail, suitable for families and children of all ages, encouraging play and exploration. The commission develops the trail's theme as a multi-sensory experience providing access to great art in the forest environment for those with sensory impairment.

The Art Roots Grizedale programme will create new art experiences, accessible to all, in a range of landscapes within the forest. This will also include opportunities for cyclists, exploring the forest on two wheels, to engage with new landmark sculpture in the forest for the first time.

Art Roots Grizedale will reposition art in the environment at the forefront of Grizedale's visitor experience. The initiative is supported by £95,000 from our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme and £80,000 of funding from South Lakeland District Council through the Playbuilder programme.

Jane Beardsworth, North West Regional Director, Arts Council England, said: 'We are very excited about the opening of the new Art Roots exhibition. Art Roots Grizedale is part of our national partnership work with the Forestry Commission and it promises to place Grizedale Forest as its lead programme for contemporary art. It is funded through our Grants for the arts scheme, which invests Lottery money in the highest quality arts activity and supports innovative and exciting work. Not only will Art Roots encourage new audiences for the visual arts, but it will also add to the area's appeal as a cultural tourism destination.'

You can find out more about Art Roots Grizedale at the Grizedale Sculpture website.