Published: Mon 2 December, 2019
Schoolchildren from Ashby-de-la-Zouch have joined artist Adrian Moakes to celebrate the official unveiling of a new National Forest-inspired sculpture in the town.
‘The Forest Floor’ sculpture is part of the community engagement work proposed by the artist and funded by North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC), which commissioned ‘The Heart of the Forest’ tree sculpture nearby.
More than 150 pupils from Ashby’s Hill Top Primary, Willesley Primary and students from Ivanhoe College took part in outdoor workshops led by Adrian, where they studied a variety of nature subjects and made wire models for The Forest Floor artwork. They also learned about the National Forest, how important it is to North West Leicestershire, and ways in which everyone can help look after it.
All of these designs have been recreated by hand and incorporated by sculptor Adrian Moakes in the incredibly intricate galvanized steel piece. Thanks to information boards nearby it’s possible to identify the contribution of each individual student who took part.
This ‘Forest Floor’ design can be found embedded into the ground near the Hood Park gates at the entrance to the new North Street car park.
The project was funded by North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) as it supports Ashby Town Council’s plan to create a culture and leisure quarter in the town.
The new artwork complements ‘The Heart of the Forest’ landmark sculpture installed earlier this year. Also inspired by the National Forest it is made out of eight tubular steel curved columns and stands at 8.35 metres at its highest point.
The £50,000 commission for both ‘The Heart of the Forest’ and ‘The Forest Floor’ sculptures, including an extensive programme of workshops and public consultation events by the artist, is in addition to the £1.1 million NWLDC already invested to extend North Street car park by 52 spaces, making the town more accessible.
Sculptor Adrian Moakes said: “I always like to create ways for people to participate in my public art projects, so at an early stage of the big sculpture commission, I proposed to work with Ashby schools to produce an extra artwork that really captured their love of the environment. I’ve put an immense amount of work into this new piece and I hope it’s something that will fascinate everyone for years to come, but most importantly that it shows the great value in encouraging children to express themselves creatively”.
Mark Fiander, Head of Economic Regeneration at NWLDC, said: “This area of Ashby has been vastly improved with the new car park, improvements being made to Hood Park Leisure Centre, the restoration of the Hood Park gates, and now the two completed forest-inspired sculptures.
“Adrian’s ‘Forest Floor’ is a wonderful addition to the town and with the involvement of all the schools we hope it’s inspired the children to think more about the environment and our place in the National Forest, as well as giving them something that they can visit in the town and be really proud of.”
Luke, a Year 5 pupil at Willesley Primary School, said: “I think it’s good that we’re trying to do something for the environment instead of destroying it.”
Esme, also a Year 5 pupil at Willesley Primary, said: “It’s really good to see our work in the sculpture, it’s made me feel really happy. Adrian was very nice when he came to see us at school and we learned lots of really interesting stuff!”