August 21, 2008

Forest Commission for City Arts Centre


THE Bluecoat is going green - for a little while, at least.

Visitors to the centre on School Lane are now being greeted by a little extra flora and fauna, thanks to a new project which hopes to get people thinking about the importance of our humble trees.

Part of Capital of Culture year initiative, Delivering a Green 08, Greenspot has been created by a number of different organisations working in partnership.

Some 16 young maple trees are now situated in the courtyard of the Bluecoat, with benches and quotations from tree-loving writers and celebrities, to create a contemplative "mobile forest".

Sustainability and climate change, improving the ambience of the streets and even the health benefits of trees in the city are all explored as part of the work, which is in situ until September 3.

Then it is hoped the trees will get to go "on tour" around other sites in the city before being put away for the winter - although that will not be the end of the project.

When their leaves shoot again in 2009, it will be the perfect time for the trees to hit the road a second time, to make the most of what will be Liverpool's Year of the Environment.

Keith Jones, of the Forestry Commission, said: "It's about bringing the forest into the heart of the city.

"The idea with Greenspot is to show the benefit of trees in a social, economic and environmental way, and I think it does that very well.

"It offsets the building and works fantastically.

"It isn't about the quantity of trees that are planted in the North West, but is about them being in the right place, and this is quite a good example."

The watering of the trees and strings of lights that illuminate them at night are computer controlled, powered by a metal "solar tree" that converts the power of the sun.

Phil Olsen, of the Bluecoat, said: "The creative activity here is never limited to the gallery walls, so we're looking forward to this installation. The fact that the Bluecoat already boasts that rare thing, a green space in a built-up city centre, makes us an apt venue for Greenspot."

The project is a partnership between the Forestry Commission, NWDA (Newlands), Regional Parks Xchange, Groundwork Merseyside and the Environment Agency.

It's about bringing the forest into the city

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