Important facts about the project

  • It is high quality art
  • Challenges perceptions about art, sustainability & climate change
  • Defines a concept for slow art
  • Adheres to sustainability issues, embodied energy in materials, transport, emissions etc.
  • Reflects on the slow concept of taking more time to appreciate art

SLOW ART TRAIL was a pilot, public art project developed by Chrysalis Arts to raise awareness of environmental issues and to explore how artists can develop a more sustainable approach to their creative practice. Chrysalis Arts encouraged local community participation in the project through a programme of creative writing and visual arts workshops. The project connected with the slow food concept of taking more time to appreciate quality, sourcing materials locally where possible, the use of natural and non-toxic materials and aimed to highlight issues such as re-using and recycling, sustainable transport and responsible travel.

With support from Gaia Research, Chrysalis produced an initial brief for artists to respond to which requested that installations follow the guidelines of sustainability, low embodied energy, and recycled and recyclable materials. This included paying attention to sourcing of materials, avoidance of pollution, waste and toxicity avoidance and bio-diversity.
However, Chrysalis was keen to highlight that throughout the selection process and implementation of the project, equal weight was also given to the artistic integrity and quality of the work.

SLOW ART TRAIL enabled visitors to experience the landscape and contemplate the artworks at a slow and leisurely pace. The project was situated within the Bolton Abbey Estate, near Skipton, in the North Yorkshire Dales and was open from late September to mid October 2008. The trail consisted of a series of environmental installations, commissioned from leading public artists, complemented by poetry written by David Morley about the wood and surrounding area. The poems were incorporated into the trail by artist Kate Maddison, working with local furniture makers David Mawdsley and Richard Law. The six artists selected to develop installations all worked with diverse materials and methods, however, they were united by their strong empathy for working sustainably. Stephen Bailey made a map of the Bolton Abbey Strid from collected rubbish, Johnny White made a water-driven, kinetic man in a rowing boat. Andy Plant created a giant, recycled copper, Talking Cactus, Laura Ellen Bacon's woven, site-specific sculptures in coppiced willow carried a theme of organic growth and nesting, and Jane Revitt designed Banquet Furniture for an Oak Wood. Steve Gumbley, created "From Horse Power to Hydrogen Power," a shadowgraph machine of nuclear, chimneys, cooling towers and galloping horses, which he describes as a "mechanical meditation on sources of power."

SLOW ART TRAIL supported a range of community artand creative writing workshops within the Craven area, on the themes of waste and sustainability. The writer Miles Salter worked with over 60 young people from CravenPrimary Schools, with the themes of trees, waste, and Our Special World. Working With Waste was the theme of workshops led by Chrysalis Arts associate artist Van Nong, who worked with young people in Skipton, in partnership with the Youth Service, Connecting Youth Culture,and with A-level art students from Skipton Girls High School to create the major installation in the centre of the Exhibition Centre, giving the students the opportunity to create a site-specific work.

SLOW ART TRAIL was devised by Christine Keogh, Kate Maddison and Rick Faulkner and one of the lasting legacies of Slow Art Trail are the PASA Guidelines. Chrysalis Arts have developed Public Art Sustainability Assessment from the processes learned throughout the project and these will continue to inform their professional development training.