Wildlife Trust delighted by response to lockdown inspired call to artists and excited at prospect of exhibiting unique artwork at Idle Valley Nature Reserve this autumn.

@jannahart

Local nature conservation charity Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today spoken of its amazement at the response to its lockdown inspired Open Call to artists.

The charity, which cares for dozens of wild places across the county and stands up for wildlife across the county, urged people to create unique postcard size artworks that reflected their connection with nature and greenspaces during lockdown. The call was triggered after the Trust noted an increase in people visiting its nature reserves, people visiting reserves for the first time and a huge leap in digital engagement via its website and social media accounts.

Postcard Show entry Bugs in the Mud. Colourful graphic design featuring beetles, leaves and plants alongside plastic straws, tesco single use carrier bags and plastic bottles.

Bgs in the Mud by Meredith Adams

Speaking about the Open Call Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said: “Although we have worked hard to keep most of our nature reserves open throughout lockdown we did have to close our nature centres and café’s and all our events and volunteering sessions were cancelled. However, despite this and it has been clear that people have found getting out in nature a great help, mentally and physically, during these challenging times, so we created the Open Call to artists to encourage people to share their experiences creatively. We were hopeful of a positive response but we have been completely blown away by how many people were keen to give their time and shared their artwork with us.”

Postcard Show entry Natural Beauty. A circle of branches, leaves, thorns and flowers made from layers of paper also featuring a goldfinch, ladybird and butterfly.

Natural Beauty by Kaitlin Johnson

Almost 1000 entries have been submitted from across the county and beyond - including many from overseas. The artworks cover a wide variety of styles, from watercolour and pen and ink to textiles, ceramics and photographic techniques.

Paul added: “We were delighted that so many people have taken the opportunity to get creative. We never expected to receive so many entries from across the UK and from overseas and the scale of the response and the fact that the Open Call has resonated with people from across the world underlines just how important our connection with nature and access to wild green spaces is to people.”

Postcard Show entry Sowing reward. A painting of a hoverfly on an orange flower.

Sowing rewards by Alicia Roberts

The Wildlife Trust is now making preparations to exhibit all 984 original artworks at its Idle Valley Nature Reserve this autumn and is currently working to reopen the facilities at the reserve ahead of the exhibition. After the exhibition the artwork will be sold to generate funds for its work to create a wilder Nottinghamshire.

Paul explained: “Right from the start of this project we intended to use the exhibition to highlight the wonderful Idle Valley Nature Reserve, our largest site and one where we have ambitious plans for the future. We are very excited at the prospect of welcoming new visitors as well as old friends once we can reopen our car park, café, reception and other facilities. We are currently working closely with RNN Group, who own the building, to ensure we can operate in a Covid-Safe way and will be meeting them again shortly.  We look forward to announcing our reopening date and details of the exhibition shortly.”

In addition to local entries, artwork was received from 23 other English counties as well as from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Overseas entries were received from countries including Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Israel and the US. 

Anyone wishing to find out more details about the Open Call, Idle Valley Nature Reserve, or who would like to register for regular email updates abut events such as the Postcard Show should visit nottinghamshirewildlife.org