If you love sculpture, or especially if you you’ve ever thought of buying a sculpture for your home or your courtyard, visit ArtParkS in Guernsey – a beautiful green island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. The Sculpture Park was founded in 1998 by Charles Saumarez-Smith, Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, and it became the very first place, where people could enjoy and buy artworks without an appointment or a salesperson.
Surprisingly, in the early days, ArtParkS faced quite a lot of resistance from sculptors who had only considered selling their works via galleries. Everyone who ever wanted to buy a sculpture knows how difficult it is to choose one; sometimes it is even more challenging to step out of your comfort zone if the salesperson is too pushy. Recently, ArtParkS became more than a place to be with a sculpture one-on-one without white walls and artificial lighting - it transformed its website into a full-scale gallery where you can comfortably choose out of 8000 works. If you plan a holiday nearby, then don't miss your chance to roam the gorgeous grounds of ArtParkS and gaze at sculptures personally.
The beautiful lands of Guernsey with mild winters and warm summer months proved to be a great place for an outdoor sculpture park. If you already saw all the sculptures, you will still have a lot to do in Guernsey – from kayaking and windsurfing to seafood restaurants and fishing, from Neolithic dolmens and menhirs to Le Creux ès Faïes, a tomb that was believed to be the gateway to a magical fairyland. Several nearby islands form a jurisdiction within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependency. The jurisdiction is not part of the United Kingdom, although defense and most foreign relations are handled by the British Government. This is probably the reason why the island is a great vacation spot - close to everything, and self-sufficient.
The Sculpture Park is situated on the grounds of Sausmarez Manor, an ancient woodland with lakes and exotic subtropical plants, through which the sculpture path meanders. The plants include drifts of camellias, clumps of around 30 different bamboos, groves of tree ferns, swathes of cyclamen, clumps of lilies, palm trees and hostas. Following the path, you will see more than 100 sculptures on display with another 20 in the formal gardens by the Manor. Sculptures are ranging from Abstract to Minimalist to Realistic to Futuristic to Classical, so you will surely experience a range of emotions and most likely will find something you will love.
ArtParkS is keen on discovering new artists and presenting their works. Over the years, the Park dispatched hundreds of sculptures to collectors all over the world – in the Americas, New Zealand, all over Europe and of course Britain and the Islands – becoming a launching pad for artists and a Mecca for collectors. Every year the new exhibition is opened in mid-May by an artist or celebrity.
The Park is a peaceful garden to unwind and enjoy art, to wander around exotic plants and to have tea in the traditional tearoom (one of the best on the Island). You can also visit the Sausmarez Manor, which is open only with guided tours (we would suggest going on the ghost tour!). Pop into the gift shop that offers a broad and interesting range of locally crafted, British and more exotic gifts to choose from.
And we cannot hold back about the ducks! They are very friendly, although some are becoming too intimate with you too soon. All they want is your attention, or better a piece of bread! But it all adds to the atmosphere of nature, harmony and relaxation.