Art - Footprint Project
Will Nash, a sculptor who lives in Lewes, started spending a lot of time in Stanmer Park in 2005. In fact he became rather obsessed with the place. “I got more and more interested in the park as an entity, and how people use it,” he says. “It’s such an unusual space. A park which incorporates a village and a university. I started exploring it more and more.” Being an artist, Will’s obsession turned into a project. “I decided to do a piece looking at how other people used the park.” The result of this idea is rather a remarkable sculpture exhibition, which is currently on at the Gardner Arts Centre - the Footprint Project.
Will designed a map of the park - there wasn’t one readily available - and asked people to draw onto it the path they took when they walked round the space. Then he collected together the results. “I also applied for, and got, a grant from the Arts Plus Award, who were looking for art works which connected with the public in an alternative way.” The idea was to turn people’s routes into works of sculpture. “I wanted a project where the public were involved in the art-making process in a very direct way. I wanted to take what the public gave me and turn it into art.”
He did not let those filling out the forms into the secret that this was for an art project. “Sometimes the term ‘art’ can be a turn-off”, he says. He asked them to tick various boxes as to why they were in the park. Some were bird-watching, others were dog-walking. Some were just there for a stroll.