in november 2014 we published our go and see bursary review.
it informed an art walk in belper parks
in november 2014 we published our go and see bursary review.
it informed an art walk in belper parks
with the art walk now complete and my emotional calm about recovered, i feel the need to reflect about the process and the outcome.
the work was the final leftover creation of a grand and ambitious idea that began about 18 months ago. the journey to realising the work was no where near as straight forward as i imagined it to be. in the really difficult times the experience gained from the go and see bursary from a n certainly kept me going.
the work set out to be an art walk in belper parks. the intention of mounting it was to act as a reason for people to go into the parks. they’re called the parks as the area was originally three separate parks that over time became one and can be traced back to the thirteenth century.
the idea for an art walk came from an episode of revenge, possibly series 2. when i researched art walk i saw the american model is self directed and this particularly appealed as we’d done a map based trail before and in my personal practice i like the notion of ‘to discover’.
i’ve written at length about our go and see bursary visit to grizedale and in some way i wanted our art walk to begin to evoke the kind of response i’d had at grizedale. this was going to be very subjective and difficult to measure but i felt it was a way of approaching what the art walk might be.
reflecting now about how we approached the project i can see the path we went along and wonder if another might have been better?
knowing how big the area in the parks was i knew we needed help with placing a meaningful amount of work there for visitors to walk around. in 2013 we produced an art trail in belper and for it we made a call out and charged a small admin fee. exactly the same approach was adopted for the art walk.
in derbyshire for the last 10 years, the last bank holiday in may has seen the derbyshire open arts. the event is well established and has a resonable advertising and marketing campaign. in mid 2014 when putting together the public event licence application it seemed to be a clever idea to enter the work into open arts weekend to get publicity throughtout derbyshire and offer artists a unique way of displaying their work.
it came as quite a surprise in october last year to read that due to lack of members on the organising committee, derbyhire open arts would be taking a break in 2015.
when we heard the news there might have been a moment of considering pulling the art walk. i’m glad we didn’t as the visitor numbers were good and if we had of pulled it we wouldn’t have got to see what the idea looked like.
as the year turned into 2015 we had an artist call out prepared. on my personal practice blog i’ve already reflected a little about that process. reflecting on the duration i can say that it ran for too long and i’d managed to forget some of the things i’d learnt from doing the 2013 art trail project. my vision for the art walk was to work with a group of artists working out with them where their works would go and how the art walk as a whole would be.
possibly before we had the call out fully circulated, some unexpected propositions appeared to the project.
through our peer to peer meetings we’d met a lady living locally who was a keen knitter and in 2012 had yarn bombed in derby. she came to our january 2015 meeting and proposed she added some yarn bombing to the art walk as the dates coinsided with the voluntary arts woollen woods fortnight. after further discussions there were no objections to having works inspired by woollen woods in the art walk.
i’ve blogged about my involvement with the big lunch extras (ble) programme before and part of the follow up process is an occassional visit from our regional catalyst. as i sat with her in january updating her with what we were doing, little did i suspect that she would suggest she brought the regional roadshow to belper. she presented the opportunity as one we would be foolish not to go with, so we went with it.
both ble and the art walk were done voluntarily by me. it’s good to demonstrate what one can do however there comes a point where voluntary burnout occurs. if you decide to volunteer in your community, becareful of burning out, it’s easy to do.
we publised “open” times for the art walk. i’d done this so that if anyone needed to remove works they could as the site is unsecure at night. the work i made utilised bobbins and i chose to remove them each evening as i felt they might have value to individuals away from them being part of an art installation.
this idea of value was part of the critical under pining of the art walk. i became interested in how artists might react and respond to an opportunity to work in a beautiful woodland setting knowing that their work was vunerable to the risk of being taken away. almost like an informal investigation of value, property and ownership.
the three artists and 18-25 knitters who donated work all knew about the known risk of implied ownership by others. experience working in belper made me confident that implied ownership would not be a big issue. i was correct about this until the afternoon of the third day. returning after lunch i noticed a couple of knitted creatures were missing and one of chris’ sculptures had been repositioned probably of a result of the work being pulled and the supporting branch snapping. what i cannot yet resolve in my own thinking is why do woollen creations in a wood qualify as being free to be taken if desired?
on the morning of the installation i helped chris by installing her work as she too had agreed to do things to help the ble event. looking back on that morning i managed to install chris’ work my own work and be at the opening of the ble event in between. i need to thank chris for her support throughout the process and also for her work nesting.
one aspect of the installation process i that could have done better was the placing of the woollen creations. they were being installed by a team of volunteers and i’d been careful to explain my vision for how i saw them being installed prior to installation. i remember thinking on the saturday evening walk round how densely they were positioned on the trees and if the packing had been less dense we could have covered more of the art walk area.
on the subsequent days i watched people of all ages have moments of awe and wonder as they discovered the next thing on the tree. it’s difficult to say for certain but maybe they were expeirencing the condensed version of my finding the works in grizedale. so i conceded that the packing was ok for the woollen creations and any subsequent attempts to fill out the art walk area with woollen creations would need 3 or possibly 4 times as many works to take the walk onto all 4 sides of the square.
when we were in grizedale chatting with the couple who ran the b&b, they told us how when grizedale began the works on display portryed things they knew and recognised. as the place got more popular and the works became more abstract and conceptual they told us that the locals grew less fond of walking around the works. in the art walk the woollen creations were easily recognised.
the works of art had appeal to those who chose to engage, look and consider. with just three artists we had room to let our ideas expand. when the artist callout failed to attract anything like the numbers i’d hoped for i invited julian woodcock to take part and he was really pleased to be involved.
his work was in response to his experiences of seeing filled dog poo bags hanging on trees while out walking his own dog. with julian i got to have my walk around the space and to talk about ideas and concepts and he eventually found somewhere he wanted to work. being a curator must be a fantastically rewarding job.
of my own work i was relaxed about talking about it honestly … i don’t really know yet what it’s about … for now i like the way it looks.
while documenting the work i spoke to lots of people and got to hear what they to say. here’s some of my favourite things that were said to me:
“We” re really enjoying this”
“Very trusting …. Wonderful ”
“It”s made our day.”
“I’ve come back out to take photos ”
“I love the way it connects everything”
“It”s such a great idea and such a success”
“It’s interesting for children … well actually it’s interesting for anybody”
“This should be done with in every park”
“I’ve come back to have a second look.”
“This is worthy if a 2 minute slot on east Midlands news”
for me the best thing about the work is that i’m writing about it meaning that it’s been done. i’ve been feeling a huge sense of relief that we did it and we can lay to rest the idea begun 18 months ago. we achived the intention of giving a reason for someone to visit the parks for the first time. we achieved moments of awe and excitement for people and estimate between 300 and 600 people visted the work. attracting local knitter and crochetters to participate was relativley easy. inviting artists to take part was more succesful than having a call out. reflecting about my original vision for the project, i think that funding would be needed to achieve it.
the work evolved through the involvement of the two other people and the two other ideas. i didn’t realise it at the time but in accepting their propositions my own ownership of the work was compromised. i now understand why during the lead into the project i felt so uncomfortable with my own vision as in practice it had become much smaller than the two other visions. how do i feel about that now ?
taking the wider view for a moment, the art walk provided enjoyment for all those i spoke to who visited it but how do i feel ?
the ble project is about doing things to strengthen community by shared experience. the ble involvement challenged my rythymn of working and placed a faster pace within the project. the ble involvement set the art walk as an idea for building community and i saw how participants got that.
the lady who got all the knitter and crochetters together has demonstrated a sense of ownership and this is important to community projects and from all the excitement on site it looks like the plans for something next year have already begun.
in summary … we’ve made a work outdoors and it was well attended. our connections brought to the project aspects we wouldn’t have expected and these allowed the idea to grow outide of the original boundaries of itself. in time we’ll see how making an art walk in belper parks goes onto inspire others to do something similar where they live.
a starting point.
what do you love about this community?
i’m reflecting on the notes i made during the presentation given by sue hill at the big lunch extras camp. i have about a third of a page of notes and i’m really pleased to see words that wrap me up in a warm blanket of relevency.
we published the art walk call out last week. i’m going to post the opportunity here on a-n but first i need to consider the project at the critical level. what is the artist opportunity above and beyond an opportunity to play and have fun making works in a wood ?
drawing on the sue hill notes i see “sense of place” “awe and wonder – looking with new eyes” and “the daily rthymn of cows”.
the sense of place is a set of words i’m familiar with. in my second year career module at university i visited a project with the title sense of place. i need something else.
it came to me a couple of weeks ago when introduced to place making. in it’s initial pure form this is to do with the collaboration connected to the creation of city(urban) space. the work being permanent and political. in the abstracted form of place making i’m interested in it’s basis is rural areas, is temporary and abstract.
i arrive at my crossroads of description.
art walk for the artist.
art walk for the visitor.
currently the focus is the artist however we’ve begun the drive to get the event publicised and we’re being asked for words, times, dates and images.
so for the artist the opportunity is to work outdoors in a wood dating back to the thirteenth century and once a deer park for royalty. the opportunity is one we’re creating for the first time, so we have an open mind as to what we want to recieve. to help everyone understand what the art walk is we’ve set it up so we have an area for work akin to a formal display manner and a partner work somewhere else in the parks to be discovered. that implies the whole of the parks. for this first year we are working in an area that is 100 metres square.
making something in full view is powerful
at this point we start to shuffle towards the common ground for both artist and visitor.
the art walk place makes in an area of belper parks, a space dating back to the thirteenth century.
that’s a start ….
i want to weave in the words discover, look with new eyes and delicate. i’m not too sure about delicate however i needed a third word.
the art walk delicatley place makes in an area of belper parks. self guide yourself and discover the works here. look with new eyes to find the partner works there.
i quite like that.
30 words in which i think it sets up a proposition for the viewer. it sets out how there is an area in belper parks in which we are working in a delicate manner. we state it’s self guided and put discovery on the table of consideration. the context of here implies something safe and known. the contextualisation of there sets the challenge to look and wander into a slightly more unknown region. this mirrors how we set up the concept of the art walk with help from hayley at the forestry commision, something made possible by the go and see bursary we recieved from the artist information company.
-i have a quick break, step outside, close the gate….. i read…. and need to add something-
i need to add something to set up a sense of beginning…
the art walk delicatley place makes in an area of belper parks. self guide yourself to discover the works here. look with new eyes to find the partner works there. head to the poetry stone to begin your walk of discovery.
discovery is very much an experience we want for our visitors. it was what we felt walking at grizedale. for me it’s about trying to get close to something like the feeling of awe and wonder i felt at grizedale when finding a sculpture. the only difference in belper parks is we’re working at a smaller scale.
-the post remained unpublished until i had time to show it ot a colleage…. –
we made some tweaks…
the art walk sensitively place-makes in an area of belper parks. self guide yourself to discover the works here. look with new eyes to find the partner works there. head to the poetry stone to begin your walk of discovery.
i look at it and another part of it seems double ended… the self guide yourself bit. i’m not sure how to evolve these words as the art walk is intended to be a self guided walk… the route is up to the visitor… maybe self guide yourself is actually ok. for now it’ll remain so.
the artist call out is now available at http://www.corridor-arts.org.uk/call-outs/
the high street minister visited belper today and i was lucky enough to meet her. ok so it was very short in so much as i was there to assist chris so my meeting was as long as it took to say “hello i’m andrew, i’m assisting chris today.”
penny mordaunt is the minister and she was in belper to see for herself why the judges of the great british high street awards made the town the 2014 winner of winners.
chris was invited to meet the minister because of the belper train station mosaic project. to realise her commission from transition belper chris worked with schools and visitors to the town’s eco festival belper goes green to create an eight sqaure metre mosaic based on images of the town drawn by the school children.
i enjoyed helping chris to move the panels into the venue and i did have a few moments of doubt about wether i should actually be in the venue to meet the minister.
while we waited for the ministerial party to arrive there was a familiar air of waiting. this evolved slightly when one of the asembled party joked “he’s looking for snipers” about the security person scoping the outside vista.
this took me into another world momentarily. my perception of media coverage meeting those whose life are directly influenced by what happens within the construct. my internal monologue at odds with itself. my real world coming close to an unreal world. it has to be unreal as i can’t personally prove it’s real.
when the minister arrived i was struck with how lovely she seemed, youthful, approachable and very at ease with herself. i watched chris chat with ease about the community involvement and seemlessly invited her to add a tile herself. without a flinch she agreed and directed by chris duely added her piece to the mosaic.
i’ve had a day outside of my day and have really enjoyed it. my sphere of reference of politics has been given a nudge and i’m hopeful that there are other ministers like penny … i say like penny however i don’t know what she’s like.
i’m hoping that uk politicans are people who have days outside of their day, have time for other people and care that politics is a meaningful process and not one that has the piss taken out of it so much because those within it allow themsleves to appear in a manner that allows other to depict them that way.
i’m looking forward to tomorrow when my day will be inside my day.
the review is ready to go !
and i find myself wanting to make the most of pressing the create and publish button.
i know from experience that when i’ve published something and then spent time promoting it i’ve felt rather under prepared for the promoting bit.
this time … i’m preparing the promoting before i launch the review.
part of this preparing is ensuring that the corridor website is up to date and the same is true for my own practice website. this need to be at one within what i’m doing is another benefit of the go and see burarsy that in no way had been expected.
it’s helping me professionally from a point of view of being comfortable with what i’m doing, despite being sans plaudits all around me. i too readily dis what i do if i don’t get immediate gratification of applause.
i see it as a much longer term thing. what i do today will be helpful sometime at a as yet undesignated time in the future.
currently i am able to maintain my optimism :)
our go and see bursary experience has become a three part experience. today i am feeling that our third part is nearing completition.
since part 2 in september i’ve been working to create the review of the whole experience. it’s been an interesting task to complete as it’s pushed my ideas of what a review can be.
today i’m sensing that each phase has presented different challenges to overcome. i’m surprised at just how good this has been for me.
working with chris we are close to arriving at our go and see bursary review. i’m not sure if it captures the intense personal experience of being at grizedale and the subsequent more professional nature of reflecting on the visit.
i guess i’m not actually going to be able to disseminate what my day on the silurian trail was like, unless i consider it in terms of a performance and communicate the feeling of being at one with myself, the highs of dicovering sculptures and the intensity of the physical achievement of getting around the trail.
the thing is that all of these are location and time specific.
the other aspect of writing the review i’m finding challenging is how to end it. i sense that i haven’t read enough of other reviews to get a sense of what a majority view is.