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Lady sat on the ground drawing a tree

Art Bridge Emergents Project

They say that art is but an imitation of nature, and trees have certainly been the inspiration for artists of every genre, from Monet to Shakespeare to Joni Mitchell! As the National Arboretum a large part of our role is to help people to engage with this amazing landscape in a variety of ways.

In March 2020, Art Shape, a Gloucestershire charity whose work encourages social inclusion within the arts, received the exciting news that they received Arts Council England funding for a new project: Art Bridge Emergents. The project offers emerging artists who face disabling barriers opportunities for professional development, mentoring, networking and exhibition experience.

As part of this project, Westonbirt Arboretum will host an Artist in Residence, Deb Hoy. With extensive experience in creating public art installations, socially engaged arts and arts education, Deb will work alongside the Art Bridge Emergents artists to use our wonderful tree collection as inspiration for a site specific piece at Westonbirt, aimed at deepening people’s connection to trees. The concept will focus on 'trees as the lungs of the earth'.

You’ll be able to come and see the completed installation for yourself in Silk Wood near the 2000 year old lime from 05 November. 

Artist Debs tying rope to Lungs of the Earth installation

Lungs of the Earth art installation

On your next visit make sure you head over to the 2000 year old lime in Silk Wood to view the hard work of artist Deb Hoy and the emerging artists on the Art Bridge Emergents programme run by Art Shape.

Trees effectively clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, literally helping us to stay alive. Lungs of the Earth is based on this exchange of air, mirroring the alveoli in our lungs (tiny blood vessels around small sacks) where oxygen enters our body and carbon dioxide is expelled.

The structure is light and airy, sometimes you can see it billowing in the breeze… but what's inside? Is it more like human lungs or more like the branches of trees overlapping in a forest?

The installation will be in place for at least six months so don't miss out. 

Discover more

Artist in residence Deb Hoy
Find out more about Artist in Residence, Deb Hoy.
Painting of a daisy on green background
Westonbirt is the inspiration for up-and-coming artists
Lady holding a drawing of a tree
Discover more about the artists and their work
Man holding drawing in front of paintings he's made
Learn more about the Art Bridge Emergents project
Artist in residence

Experimenting with wood

Artist in residence

Try at home

man drawing on bench
Find a tree you connect with and try this drawing technique.
Woman writing on a notepad in the forest
Find a comfortable spot in nature, stop and lie down. Take some time to draw what you see.
Man weaving with rope
tree shape made from rope