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Contemplating Nature With Public Art

Contemplating Nature With Public Art

In spite of the latest lockdown this month we’ve enjoyed getting out to visit the site of our current project with Ashford Borough Council where we are working with Tim Norris to develop a sculptural bird hide in Conningbrook Lakes Country Park.

Published date: 17 November 2020

The public art for this site aims to celebrate the unique environment of Conningbrook Lakes with particular focus on the diverse and abundant wildlife. Tim’s work draws its inspiration from the surrounding landscape, and where possible uses materials that have a direct significance with its location. Rather than produce purely furniture or sculpture, he is interested in creating inspirational commissions that interact with people to help them to relax, play, enjoy and appreciate their environment.

As we are in a second lockdown, now more than ever country parks and green spaces are so important. They provide access to spaces helping us to exercise outdoors, time for quiet contemplation and connection with nature in a contemporary busy world during Covid.

Whilst non-essential shops remain closed it’s worth remembering that we have a wealth of green space across the UK that we all have access to – including National Parks, Country Parks, urban parks, National Trust, English Heritage, woodland, forestry commission and rural farmland, byways and waterways, coastal areas etc. plus privately owned estates and sculpture parks and gardens. It was great to see Yorkshire Sculpture Park promote their grounds remaining open to visit and enjoy sculpture in the open air, connecting with nature and art.

Venturing North, our work with Great Place: Lakes & Dales reminds us of the role of public art in a rural context. Our chapter in Public Art Now! explores how artists engage within rural settings and communities and how public art can be an effective way to reconnect with nature and our green spaces. In the Lake District National Park, ‘the UK’s most visited National Park’ emphasis on family – friendly activity and engagement is the driving force behind their public art commissioning. Public art needs to incorporate high-quality design, stimulate, educate, be relevant, be appropriate, be interactive, be functional and be elemental.

Closer to home (for us) in Ashford, Kent, artists Julia Clarke, Tim Norris and Outdoor Studios have been selected for their specialisms in creating large-scale outdoor sculptural works and outdoor activities, drawing inspiration from the surrounding landscapes and using natural materials such as locally sourced timber, willow and foraged flora and fauna. Once installed at Conningbrook Lakes, these artworks will be on the doorstep for new residents, workers at the local factories and visitors to the park. Perfect to take a ‘local commute’ to help break up home-working and signal the start or end of your business day or to refresh your mind and body during a lunch break.

Have you discovered local places and got out and about more than usual this year?




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