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NEWS RELEASE No: 166006 JULY 2016

Arts Council England and Forestry Commission England demonstrate that Forest Art Works

Hayley Skipper

On 11 July, 2016, Arts Council England and Forestry Commission England will sign a new four year partnership to expand and extend the reach of high quality, innovative artworks in England’s Forests.

The new partnership, from 2016-2020, will be signed at the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail in Gloucestershire. It builds on the success of an initial Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations in 2012, which led to the creation of the successful Forest Art Works programme. It will continue to develop cutting-edge projects and programmes to support achieving great art and culture for everyone in England’s public forests.

Since 1968 Forestry Commission England has pioneered arts initiatives across artforms, across the Public Forest Estate with temporary and permanent installations ranging from sculpture trails to virtual reality.

Successes of the Forest Art Works programme include Jerwood Open Forest, a national open call for bold, broad-thinking proposals that explore the potential of forests as sites for art both in and about the environment, founded through a major new partnership with Jerwood Charitable Foundation; and In the Eyes of the Animal a 360 degree virtual reality experience created specifically for the forest through a partnership with Abandon Normal Devices, an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Created by immersive experience studio Marshmallow Laser Feast, who delight in exploring the line between virtual and real-world experiences, In the Eyes of the Animal has toured internationally including to the New Frontier programme at Sundance Film Festival 2016.

Simon Hodgson, Chief Executive Officer, Forestry Commission England, says:

“We have had great successes from our previous partnership proving that Forest Art Works! Woods and forests are an important part of England’s cultural history and it is important that they are a part of our contemporary arts.

“Artists gain insight and inspiration from their interactions with woods and forests and audiences gain new experiences through engagement with art in forest environments.

“Whilst working in partnership with Arts Council England we will continue to seek high-quality, ambitious work that breaks new ground for both artists and audiences.”

Arts Council England is the national development agency for arts in England. It champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences, with a mission to get great arts and culture to everyone.

Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England says:

“Arts interventions in the natural world create a fresh dialogue between artists, the environment and our communities. They can be exciting and surprising, and help people see the world in new ways. The development of a long term relationship with Forestry Commission England gives us exciting new opportunities to help people experience this, wherever they live in the country.

“Our partnerships with non-arts based organisations are vital to help us achieve our goals; we also have strong links with the National Trust and the Canal and River Trust. These kinds of collaborations stretch the boundaries of the work that is produced, reflecting the diverse and rich landscape and society we live in.”

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and is soon to launch two major new works by artists Henry Castle and Pomona Zipser supported by the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts programme.

The full Memorandum of Understanding will be published on the Arts Council website on 11 July (

To keep up to date with the latest events and opportunities presented by Forest Art Works please sign up to the mailing list or follow on twitter @ForestArtWorks


Media Contact:

Stuart Burgess, Media Relations Manager, Forestry Commission England
0300 067 4073/

Alison Millar, Media Relations Officer, Arts Council England
020 7268 9648 /
Notes to Editor

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at
England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.

2. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

3. Forest Art Works is the partnership between Arts Council England and Forestry Commission England to support achieving great art and culture for everyone in England’s public forests.

4. The first memorandum of understanding between Arts Council England and Forestry Commission England 2012-2015 was the catalyst for a transformational period in arts development in England’s woods and forests nationally. High-quality, innovative new Forest Art Works were created in a wide range of artforms and presented across England.

5. The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail - The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust and The Forestry Commission have worked in partnership for the last 30 years to create this vital Sculpture Trail that enjoys visitors of over 300,000 people per year. Established in 1986, the trail is a unique collection of high-quality, contemporary sculpture both permanent and temporary, within the Forest of Dean.

6. England’s Top 5 places to visit Forest Art Works:

• Alice Holt Forest, Surrey, where you can visit the Semiconductor’s first ever public sculpture Cosmos commissioned through the first edition of the ambitious, new initiative Jerwood Open Forest.

• Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Gloucestershire, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016 with a series of new commissions joining the unique collection of high-quality, contemporary sculpture, both permanent and temporary.

• Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, is the UK's first forest for sculpture in the heart of the Lake District National Park. Visit artworks sited across the whole network of forest trails as well as changing exhibitions; the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016 opens in September.

• Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland is home to the unique Kielder Art & Architecture programme. The largest forest in the country, both cycling and walking trails offer expansive routes on which to discover the many architectural shelters and art installations.

• Sutton Manor is home to Dream by Jaume Plensa, commissioned with extensive involvement of the ex-miners of this former colliery site where Forestry Commission England has planted over 50,000 trees since 2002. As well as oone of the tallest sculptures in the country, Sutton Manor offers extensive views across Cheshire and Lancashire to Snowdonia and the Peak District.