Harewood House is flying the flag for enjoying the great outdoors and taking time for well-being
The stunning backdrop of Harewood House and its vast grounds have become the setting for a new art installation which aims to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and take time to look after their mental health.
After the difficulties of the last year and lockdown, with support from Leeds Mind this year Harewood has focused on the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing with the launch of their summer programme, UP + OPEN.
As the country starts to move forward from the pandemic, Harewood realises that many will still be anxious about returning to busy spaces in the outside world. It had become a place of escape for many over the last year, and they hope this will continue now they have reopened.
TOGETHER WE ARE, by artist Anthony Burrill who studied Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic, creates a series of pausing points along a newly created circular walk, prompting moments of reflection and positivity, whilst marking some of the best views across the Harewood landscape.
Mr Burrill said: "When I first started speaking to the team at Harewood, the idea formed really quickly. The brief was to create something for the outside, something that was going to be immersed in nature.
"And so, this idea of marking out a route around the grounds of the estate - picking out vantage points which look back towards the house itself as well as around it and marking these specific points with a flag, it just grew out of a simple conversation. It’s funny because ever since flags were mooted, I just seem to have noticed them everywhere.
"Creating these flags with the text pieces are simply there to connect with, something to latch on to and something that hopefully puts an idea into your head which you can then reflect on when you’re on the walk. It’s almost like having a silent companion with you, planting these seeds of thoughts in your head, really."
He added: "It’s always great to go back to Harewood. I worked on the craft biennial a couple of years ago and made two installations for the house. And, I was at college in Leeds so it’s always great to go back to the city; I’ve got a real feeling of connection with it. With Harewood specifically, I feel like I’m becoming part of the history with some of the works I’ve made there; it’s lovely."
Jane Marriott, Trust Director, said: “Covid-19 has changed, perhaps permanently, how we live and how we enjoy our time. After such a difficult year, we are delighted to welcome everyone back to Harewood for our UP + OPEN 2021 programme to take advantage of our wonderful site to its fullest - discover new parts of Harewood they’re never seen before and offer a timely moment for both fun and exploration, or more mindful calm and respite.”
Helen Kemp, Chief Executive of Leeds Mind added: “While getting outside has long been known as one of the best things for maintaining our mental wellbeing (and art and creativity, too, are common coping mechanisms), this has never been more strongly felt than during the past year of the pandemic. When everyone was faced with reduced options in what we were able to do, some of us rediscovered the great outdoors that exists right on our doorstep. We hope that a lasting positive effect to come out of this will be people being more aware of the need to notice and take care of their own mental wellbeing, especially as we all become busier in the transition ‘back to normal’.
“At Leeds Mind, it has been great to play a part in developing the project, and we hope this represents another great opportunity for our community to access beautiful outdoor spaces in our local area.”