Stour Valley Arts
We work in partnership with artists and arts organisations, scientists and health professionals, environmental organisations and stakeholders to create high quality art that engages the public in the natural environment.
We believe that art has a stake in the stewardship of nature as do scientists, politicians and commercial organisations, and that we can more directly engage with the public and bring these stakeholders together through creative exploration.
King’s Wood, Challock, Kent
King’s Wood is a 1500-acre forest in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Challock, Kent. It is managed by Forest Enterprise for conservation, recreation and timber production.
The forest is an ancient woodland site with both broad-leaved trees and conifers: species include sweet chestnut, beech, Corsican pine and Douglas fir. It is home to a huge diversity of flora and fauna, including fallow deer, adders, nightjars, green woodpeckers, lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers, foxgloves, bluebells and woodspurges.
Since 1994, SVA has commissioned artists to make sculptures within the forest and also other kinds of artworks. Artists who are particularly responsive to the nature of this working forest are invited to spend long periods here. As a consequence of their close and sympathetic involvement with the forest, they often use natural materials found in the immediate area, and engage with seasonal and growing cycles.
Sculptures that have been built using natural materials gradually change, even though, for some, the process will be longer than for others. All will eventually become part of the natural forest cycle of decay and regeneration. Day to day, they are transformed by light, weather and seasonal occurrences. Colours and surfaces are alternately dulled and brightened by rain, sun, frost, etc. Weather also affects the visability audio qualities of particular works.
As well as sculptures marked on the map, visitors may see the ‘ghosts’ of previous sculptures now being reclaimed by nature. You might also spot experimental pieces made during SVA’s education workshops.
SVA’s work at King’s Wood includes:
- Artists’ Commissions: constructions, growing sculptures, photography, performance and film
- Publishing artists’ books and organising [their] exhibitions
- Guided walks & talks
- Creative workshops for school and community groups
- Collaborations with local industry, schools, environmental groups and other organisations
- Student placements and skill-development bursaries
- Professional training for artists, caseworks and environmentalist
- International exchange residencies