Grantham NWR displayed a Christmas Tree in the St Wulfram's Church biennial festival. We chose a diamond theme in anticipation of next year's anniversary and added references to our own 40th anniversary. Well done to all the decorators.
We became hippies (once again) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival held in August 1969. We travelled back in time using online contemporary photographs of the 400,000 festival goers and the farm in Bethel, New York, where it all happened and video recordings of musical artists such as Joan Baez, Jimmy Hendrix, Joe Cocker and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. We even had hippy and 1960’s food, including lentil bake, vegetable stew, cheese and pineapple on sticks and arctic roll. What a groovy time we all had!!
As this was a suggestion of mine, inspired by a pic of me lolling by a sculpture on a school Geography trip almost 45 years ago, I've been asked to write a short resume of the meeting. It certainly was an animated evening!
My request was for us all to think about art in the public domain, from the post WW2 period, so something that is accessible to all that we could bring to everyone's attention. I asked the following questions: is there a piece that we love or hate and does it enhance our lives, so would we miss it if it disappeared? Or, can you not wait to see the back of it and bring in the bulldozers?! Did we have something foisted upon us in the name of public art, or was it a good idea?
Public art isn't always ‘modern art’, but very often can be and, I also widened the suggestions to perhaps include examples of architecture eg an outdoor facade or an atrium indoors, but still a public place. Statues, sculptures, murals, buildings; we have them all around us. I had originally just thought of British art, but we widened the scope and had some very interesting examples from elsewhere. This gave us some different angles on how others perceive art and its uses in the public space, for instance, propaganda.
Initially we discussed a sense of belonging and a sense of place. Can public art help us with this and enhance our lives? We felt that, generally, yes it can and therefore, is a good thing in that respect. Examples were given of the Angel of the North, the Poppies at the Tower of London and a future project, the Lancaster Bomber memorial to be erected on the A46 near Lincoln.
Not surprisingly, we focused on art in around Grantham, beginning with the 1.6 million given for the rejuvenation of Grantham market place and the installation of the Orrery. This was felt to be an example of how money had not been well spent to enhance the area! We also looked at art in the surrounding villages and thought that there were some commendable examples, such as murals, and at least the attempts were appreciated. However, the installation of an empty plinth and a gibbet left us somewhat bemused! The Moon installation that visited St Wulfram's was described as beautiful and inspirational.
We discussed a Guardian article that suggested the six worst examples in Britain. These were the dead tree; the Scallop; the Manchester starburst; figures at Newbiggin; the Gloucester tower; footprint in North Wales. We concluded that whilst we agreed with some of them, several were good instances and, on the whole, we disagreed with the article.
Other examples we came up with included:
The statue at Dickie Lewis's department store, Liverpool
Matthew Flinders’ statue, Euston station – the Lincolnshire ‘connection’!
Banksy and the merits of art against commercialism
The travelling exhibition of the knives sculpture
Treviso fountain, Italy
Antony Gormley – Angel of the North and his other works; message and meaning
Tucson, Arizona and the amazing murals on their buildings
Lewes, East Sussex, the Knights' Helm – that school trip!
We didn't come to any firm decisions as to which should stay and which should go, as we all felt differently about each one. The general opinion was that we would be worst off for not having Public Art, if only to have a good moan, which at least proves we've noticed it!
I was amazed at the amount of effort and research everyone had put in and I would like to thank you all for your time and contributions – some even from another Continent! I certainly think we achieved what I set out for lively minded women to do, have a very enthusiastic discussion!
Eight members of Grantham NWR and three guests visited the Rutland Open Air Theatre at Tolethorpe Hall, near Stamford, on Wednesday 20th June to see 'The School for Scandal' by Richard Sheridan. As is our usual custom we had a 'bring & share' picnic in the grounds beforehand and were favoured with warm weather and our regular favourites of coronation chicken and berry pavlova, amongst other delights. The peformance started in daylight at 7.45, but by the time it finished at 10.30pm, it was dark and somewhat cooler, but we had our rugs to keep us warm. The play was first performed in London in 1777 and was described in the programme as 'a comedy of manners, satirising an elite society that is dominated by scandal, gossip and sexual intrigue'. As usual at Tolethorpe, the costumes were superb and the actors word perfect, but some of the scenes contained long speeches, with not a lot of action, nevertheless the actors performed with enthusiasm. We shall be back again next year, maybe to see a Shakespeare play which we have not seen for a few years.
We had a very interesting evening, having researched a member of the family who was good, bad or surprising. In most cases we discovered that there had been some scandalous ancestors, which made for an entertaining discussion. We wondered if such things would have been kept secret for so long had social media been around then. Probably not, but perhaps they wouldn't seem so bad now.
What better way to start the New Year than with a party!
Grantham members enjoyed good food and good company. Thank you to our hostess for letting us use her home.
Thanks also to our retiring LO who was sparkling as usual!
Grantham group decorated a tree for the Christmas Tree Festival at St Wulfram's Church. The creative amongst us made peg dolls to represent different aspects of our meetings, such as Books, Debates, Discussions, Coffee mornings amongst others.
At last night's meeting our brief was to talk about a man we admired. We heard about the presenters Monty Don, Ken Bruce, and Michael Palin, followed by a novel twist to the evening when we learned about male suffrage. Other men mentioned were the poet Ian McMillan, local character George Garrett and two members chose the slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce. A grandfather's view from a book owned by our local organiser rounded off this evening with a smile.
Some members and guests of Grantham NWR enjoyed a picnic and a show at the Tolethorpe Open Air Theatre Nr Stamford recently.
We enjoyed a bring and share meal, the highlight being the strawberry meringue pudding! ( an annual must!) we were very lucky with the weather. it was hot and sunny when we left Grantham, but as the meal progressed ( outside on the lawns ) clouds began to gather. However, it remained dry and warm until we were in our cars on the way home when we ran into the storm that Grantham had been having all evening!
We saw Wind in the Willows, our seats are under a hard cover, but the actors are outside so would have been grateful for the nice weather.They are always so inventive with the scenery they had a river on stage, which moved the water wheel, a boat was used several times on it, as well as the 'otters' swimming on to the stage. We had a caravan brought on by a 'human' horse, a powered car, and a powered steam engine, which was huge. Sadly there are no pictures as we were not allowed to take any during the performance.We did however get some pictures before the actors came on stage.