A group of artists have been commissioned to create a series of art installations at three of South Yorkshire’s finest historic venues.
The artists have been appointed by Great Place Wentworth & Elsecar, and Wakefield-based arts organisation Beam to create a series of large-scale art installations at the venues which share a rich history: Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham and Wentworth Castle Gardens and Elsecar Heritage Centre in Barnsley.
The art installations will aim to inspire and encourage people to engage with arts, culture and heritage on their doorstep. The artworks will be displayed between this autumn and spring 2021, subject to Government guidance surrounding Covid-19.
Great Place Wentworth & Elsecar is a three-year partnership between Barnsley Council, Rotherham Council and the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust. The partnership delivers a range of activities inspired by Wentworth Woodhouse and the Earl Fitzwilliam’s model industrial village at Elsecar. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.
Rachel Blake, programme manager at Great Place Wentworth & Elsecar, said: “We know that these last few months have been incredibly difficult for everyone as we’ve all had to adjust to life during lockdown. For many people it has been a time of reflection where we’ve been able to reconnect with nature and our love of the outdoors, as well as discovering our own creativity.
“We hope these new thought-provoking artworks will give people something to look forward to when we are able to come together at a safe social distance.”
The first of the three pieces, which is due to go on display at Wentworth Woodhouse from early October, will be ‘The Flock’ by Julie Edwards and Ron Thompson of Planet Art.
The outdoor installation will include 10,000 wooden birds which will be decorated by the public and community groups to form a large family tree installed in the grounds. The designs will be inspired by stories connected to Wentworth Woodhouse and people’s reflections of life during lockdown.
The second art piece, which is earmarked to open at Wentworth Castle Gardens in the autumn, is by artist partnership Fabric Lenny and Katrina Whale. The team were inspired to create a piece which celebrates the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu who introduced the smallpox vaccination to England, and who is commemorated by the Sun Monument that stands in the gardens at Wentworth Castle Gardens.
The art installation, which will be named by the groups developing the work, will involve colourful and playful pieces throughout the gardens which will be included in a trail for visitors to explore.
The final piece by artist Ed Carter will be presented at Elsecar in Spring 2021. ‘The Mute Still Air’ will highlight the social significance of Benjamin Biram’s innovative work to improve the safety of the Fitzwilliam mines at Elsecar through mine ventilation, drawing parallels with the mythological story of Aeolus - the Greek God of winds. Biram was the Earl Fitzwilliam’s steward in the 1850s.
Visitors to Elsecar will be invited to enter a darkened space, experiencing an installation combining breeze, light, and the sound of a series of tuned Aeolian harps.
The opening of the art installations at Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth Castle Gardens and Elsecar are subject to Government guidance surrounding Covid-19. Please visit the venue websites for updates.