SVA at King's Wood and Ashford Gallery, Kent
Kings 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.
In 2010 SVA opened a town centre gallery in Ashford where they also host school visits, creative weekend workshops for children and families, artists' talks and a programme of exhibitions relating to their forest commissions.
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
Stour Valley Arts Limited is a registered charity in England, No. 1086297 and a Limited Company registered in England No. 4062269
Registered office: King’s Wood Forest Office, Buck Street, Challock, Kent TN25 4AR