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A Swaledale Festival community art project to commemorate the visit of the Tour de France to Swaledale in July 2014
As part of its Community and Education programme, the Swaledale Festival has marked the visit of the Tour de France by commissioning local artist Michael Kusz to produce an extraordinary sculpture for the Community Orchard in Reeth. Around a hundred 7 to 15 year-olds from four local schools have been involved in the design of the sculpture which will serve as a permanent reminder of the Tour de France passing through the area. The sculpture, which takes the form of a giant allium-like plant set in a wine barrel, is made entirely from unwanted bicycle parts, some of which were collected by the children.
Michael Kusz has carried out workshops with young people from Reeth, Gunnerside, Arkengarthdale and Richmond Schools on design and drawing, sourcing and working with recycled metals, and a variety of construction techniques. The students' work informed the final design. Drawings and other artworks by the Primary school children are on display until 12th July in the gallery at Hudson House, next to the Orchard, alongside photographs of some of Michael Kusz's other work.
Michael is an internationally recognised Reeth-based sculptor specialising in metal, particularly recycled materials. Michael’s work encompasses a large range of styles and subjects - from butterflies to dragons, from quirky constructions to cast bronze sculptures and from five-inch feathers to life size trees. The clear expression and integration of a sense of fun and freedom are striking aspects of Michael’s work. Creating something beautiful from something utilitarian which is no longer needed is a constant theme. Michael’s work is exhibited in Scotland, Devon, Anglesey, Cheltenham, Wakefield and the Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire.
In the last week in May and the first week in June each year the Swaledale Festival arranges world class concerts of classical, jazz, folk and world music in churches and halls across the Northern Dales, along with poetry, drama, comedy, film, exhibitions, talks, workshops and guided walks. Towns and villages in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale host more than 60 events each year. Directed by Malcolm Creese, the Festival's programming is diverse and sometimes challenging, and there is strong element of specially commissioned music and art. The Swaledale Festival has collected four major awards in the past six years; in June the Prime Minister handpicked the Festival to receive a Big Society Award for education and community work.
Reeth Community Orchard Garden
The Orchard is a popular asset for Reeth and is visited by thousands of locals and visitors each year. It started life as a Millennium project, and is open to the public every day. The first stage of the Tour de France goes right past the Orchard and the Swaledale Festival office. The new sculpture will be seen by countless spectators during the race weekend, and for many years afterwards.
Gill Hayes, chairman of the Reeth Community Orchard Group, said today:
"I am thrilled that the Swaledale Festival has commissioned this sculpture for residents and visitors to Reeth to enjoy. Michael Kusz's stunning artwork is a wonderful way to commemorate the Tour de France in Swaledale, and all the children who helped with the design will look at it with pride for decades to come."
The Re:Cycling project was commissioned and paid for by the Swaledale Festival
with generous help from Richmond School and Richmondshire District Council.
For more information on Michael Kusz, please visit: www.graculus.co.uk
The photograph of the sculpture and the artist Michael Kusz is by Malcolm Creese, artistic director of the Swaledale Festival.
The amazing sculpture made by Michael Kusz to commemorate the Tour de France. (See below)
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