Street art takeover plan for stately home’s garden featuring various artists

Street art takeover plan for stately home’s garden featuring various artists

A Grade I-listed stately home, Ashridge House, is set to host a unique street art exhibition in its expansive gardens this August. The event aims to attract visitors who might not typically explore such historic venues. The exhibition will feature the works of 20 artists, including renowned names like Liam Bononi, WRDSMTH, and Curtis Hylton. These artists have been invited to create bespoke pieces inspired by the rich history of Ashridge House, which spans from its origins as a monastery to its roles as a royal residence and a military hospital.

Marketing director Lucy Le Gassicke expressed excitement about the project, noting that each artist brings a unique perspective and style to the exhibition. Some artists focus on nature, while others lean towards traditional urban art. This diverse range of styles is expected to offer something for everyone, making the exhibition a compelling reason for both new and returning visitors to explore the stately home and its gardens.

The transformation of Ashridge House’s 190-acre Grade II-listed gardens is a collaboration with Upfest, a well-known street art festival based in Bristol. Upfest co-founder Stephen Hayles highlighted the unexpected yet delightful juxtaposition of street art within the serene and historic setting of a country garden. The festival, which began in 2008, now showcases the work of 400 artists and has become a significant event in the street art community.

Ashridge House, originally a monastery, has a storied past. It served as a royal residence for both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and later became a private house and military hospital during both world wars. Today, it houses a business school and serves as a venue for events and weddings. The upcoming street art exhibition is seen as a way to breathe new life into the historic property and attract a broader audience.

Last summer, Ashridge House experimented with an art installation by hosting a sculpture trail, which drew around 10,000 visitors. This year, the team wanted to push boundaries further by introducing street art, a move that is considered a first for a property of this kind. The artworks, described as being “about the size of a van,” will be strategically placed throughout the gardens, encouraging visitors to explore areas that are usually less frequented.

Head gardener Zora Tyrene is particularly excited about the potential for the street art trail to lead visitors to discover hidden parts of the garden. The hope is that the exhibition will not only attract art enthusiasts but also those who have a keen interest in history and nature.

The Upfest Art House exhibition at Ashridge House will open on August 4 and run until September 15. This collaboration between a historic venue and a contemporary street art festival is expected to create a unique cultural experience that bridges the gap between the past and the present.

Source: BBC News, Hertfordshire

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