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Art in the Landscape

In 2019, the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on behalf of England’s AONBs made a statement of intent to explore how working with artists could attract first time visitors to our countryside.

Why place art in the landscape?

Outdoor art has been called ‘the most egalitarian form of art’. It’s often free to access and invites people to have their own experience of both the art and its setting.   

The iconic landscapes in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated for their importance to the nation. They are often defined in policy or scientific terms, but anyone who has experienced a moment of peace, the feeling of rootedness or the sheer exhilaration of seeing a vista open up as they move through a landscape knows that they are so much more than this. A large part of the importance of natural beauty is personal - our emotional experience of it.

Artists have been inspired by landscape throughout history; from John Constable's Hay Wain - an image of the River Stour in Dedham Vale AONB to Ralph Vaughan-Williams' The Lark Ascending; and artworks have in turn helped us to a greater understanding of natural beauty.

Our first piece of Art in the Landscape took place on 21 September 2019 - a 'National Moment' with simultaneous events staged in AONBs across the country. The centrepiece was the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reading a new poem Fugitives, commissioned by the NAAONB and inspired by our AONBs, at the National Moment event on Arnside Knott in Arnside & Silverdale AONB on 21 September.

Hush by Steve Messam North Pennines AONB, Harvest Surrey Hills AONB photo by John Miller, Kerdroya Labyrinth Cornwall AONB, Artist Lorna Rees in Dorset AONB