Celebrating our Five Hectares Project at The Art Depot

On Friday 11 June, we held a gathering at The Art Depot to celebrate our Five Hectares Project and the recently finished Five Hectares Environmental Atlas.

The day began with a visit from the year three students at Gargrave Primary School. A year ago, we organised nature walks and creative workshops with these students. The aim was to get more young people outside ands to help them to explore their local environment following the years of covid lockdowns. The workshops were led by Artists’ Alice Fox and Alun Kirby. After spending time outdoors along the canal, the students created cyanotypes, wrote place names and created their own book to bring everything together. Later, they also met with Virpi Kettu of Kettu Studios where they wrote and animated short films about the world around them. Created by children living in rural North Yorkshire, there are certainly a fair share of sheep in these charming stories!

While gathering at The Art Depot this June, we celebrated and discussed the work the students had created. The students showed us their book and Christine Keogh, one of our Executive Directors, shared with them the completed Five Hectares Environmental Atlas that was made by artists and community members. Both books are bound by Alice Fox and feature the River Aire on the spine.

Each student also received one of our new Art & Nature Activity Packs and was encouraged to use the magnifying glasses inside to explore the yard outside The Art Depot. They followed bugs around the stones, looked at bees inside flowers and studied a variety of plants close up.

After their time outdoors, the students sat down to watch their animated films as well as those made by the students at Burnsall Primary School. It was wonderful to have local children visit The Art Depot, their energy, laughter and creativity is always welcomed.

In the afternoon we were joined by community members and artists whose work is in our Five Hectares Environmental Atlas. There was tea, cake and an opportunity to flip through the Atlas and meet others who contributed.

After years of covid restrictions, it was enjoyable to put faces to the names of many of the people whose work is in the Atlas. Though North Yorkshire is large, it can often feel small. When you get people together in a room you find out just how connected everyone is by locations and acquaintances. In fact, one of the textile artists who contributed found out that a photographer who contributed used to own and live in the house she now lives in! A completely unexpected connection!

Many guests and contributors also left with an Art & Nature Activity Pack to share with a young person in their life. We hope more children and adults will spend time actively exploring their local environment and making art!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Five Hectares Environmental Atlas and attended the gathering at The Art Depot.

A special thanks to the project funders: Arts Council England and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

You can learn more about the project on the Five Hectares Project Page, and more about the Atlas here.

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Image Credits: Lisa Holmes Photography

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