The Nature of Art in Wessex reaches Eastleigh

Itchen Valley Country Park visitor centre

Itchen Valley Country Park - Visitor Centre

The Salisbury International Arts Festival has brought its Nature of Art In Wessex project to Eastleigh.

The Nature of Art in Wessex involves communities in six different areas across the South of England, using the arts to help improve access to the natural environment. The communities develop the work themselves and all projects are featured as part of the annual Salisbury International Arts Festival.

The 3yr project has been mainly funded by Natural England and the Big Lottery fund, who awarded the Salisbury festival a grant of £99,986 in 2009. The project has been running since 2010 and is now into its final year. Other communities that have been involved in this project are from Laverstock, the Isle of Wight, Emsworth, Swindon and Andover.

Artist Nicky Bellinger and Eastleigh Borough Council’s Creative Learning Team are currently working on a project that will help people with visual impairments create a sensory trail in Itchen Valley Country Park. The trail is being developed now and will be showcased during the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival 2012, which runs from 25th May to the 9th June.

The first workshop at Itchen Valley Country Park included a play in the woods for pupils with visual impairments from Toynbee School.  Marie Negus from Eastleigh Borough Council joined in the fun, saying afterwards:

“One lovely girl Daisy said that it was the best day of her life, even better than birthdays and Christmas. She has two prosthetic eyes and was climbing trees, jumping in icy puddles, she loved it.”

The completed trail will be launched this Easter and will be available for everyone to enjoy throughout the festival.

Further workshops will be taking place on Wednesday 22 February at 9.30 and 1.30, at Itchen Valley Country Park.

For more information contact

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site.