Seeing the wood from the trees

14 January 2013

Hundreds of thousands of visitors to the north east will be able to create art and architecture history thanks to vital funding from Arts Council England.

The multi award-winning Kielder Art & Architecture programme in Northumberland is set to benefit from a £100,000 grant that will take Kielder in an exciting new artistic direction and for the first time, allow visitors to be truly involved in the creation of new works.

One of the top tourist destinations in the county, Kielder Water & Forest Park (KW&FP) attracts more than 330,000 visitors a year and has a long history of developing high quality sculptural and architectural projects as well as attracting world renowned artists such as James Turrell. The Park is now home to the largest open air art gallery in the country and houses twenty pieces of public art
and architecture.

Peter Sharpe, curator at KW&FP, said: “Thanks to Arts Council England we can embark on an exciting new 15 month programme that will focus on commissioning critically engaged work where the audience becomes central to the making process and is encouraged to ‘get under the skin’ of how artists think, work and imagine.”

The new programme, supported with Lottery funding from Arts Council England and named ‘Seeing the Woods from the Trees’ (StWftT), offers the public a range of opportunities to get involved with and engage with visual art and artists and includes four new commissions as well as a series of workshops and master classes for visitors to the Park.

Peter added: “Where the audience once watched, they will now participate. We will provide more and better ways for our rural audiences to be inspired by the arts and enable more people to enjoy art in the context of Kielder’s stunning environment.”

Alison Clark-Jenkins, regional director, Arts Council England, said:
“The Kielder Art & Architecture programme is a wonderful extension
of Kielder Water & Forest Park, one of the region’s best-loved and
most popular tourist attractions. Through our open-access funding programme, Grants for the Arts, we are proud to be supporting a project that doesn’t just show people great art, but also allows visitors to be truly involved in the making of art, which is what makes Seeing the Woods from the Trees so exciting.”

Elisabeth Rowark, director of KW&FP Development Trust added: “We are delighted to have secured this vital funding that will allow the art and architecture programme at Kielder not only to continue, but to transform and thrive. The destination’s unique environment has been a key creative theme in the past and will continue to offer
limitless creative possibilities for both artist and audience response.”

Twenty artworks are situated around Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Reservoir and throughout Kielder Forest and existing pieces from the award-winning programme include the RIBA award winning Kielder Observatory, James’ Turrell’s Skyspace and Silvas Capitalis, the giant forest head.

The programme will begin in February 2013. For more information on events and activities go to or

Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to  

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For more information contact Philippa Clark, communications advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538, 07970 897 756 or  

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities.

Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

James Turrell is an internationally acclaimed US artist who manipulates normal perceptions of light and space. The Kielder Skyspace is a sculptural artwork located on a rocky outcrop overlooking Kielder Water & Forest Park. The artwork consists of a short tunnel that leads to a partially buried circular room, a ceiling containing a central circular oculus or opening, and a ring of seats forming the lower part of the inner wall.

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