by Guglielmo Greco Piccolo & Damian Killeen – Pics ©ourtesy Tablet 2.0 + G.G.P.
Jupiter Artland: A Natural Choice
Contemporary visual experiences in one of the most spectacular places of the Scottish hinterland.
Land-art and contemporary sculptures are almost always destined for open spaces, and have today become a culturally authentic reality, recognised internationally, above all because of the passion and, not least, the investments of several entrepreneurs operating in the socio-cultural fabric as modern active patrons engaged in different nations.
The many and varied creative legacies, historically financed by entire families in the patrician Greek and Roman period and, afterwards, in the humanistic-Renaissance period, have always inspired communities of entrepreneurs to recognize artistic work as a resource to help socio-cultural development of the whole International community.
In our journey to research and discover new patrons and lovers of contemporary visual arts we have had the opportunity to talk to people with the ability to transform incredible places into alternative spaces, where other natural and creative scenarios co-exist for the benefit of new visions and perceptions. This is only possible thanks to the support and attention of entrepreneurs and managers to the confirmation focused on the launch of talents and works that look to future innovation and Creative industry and are engaged in the promotion and enhancement of natural resources and territories.
Jupiter Artland is the brainchild of Robert Wilson, CEO of the international natural health care company Nelson’s and his wife, the artist Nicky Wilson. Thirty five minutes from the centre of Edinburgh by public transport, Jupiter Artland is a contemporary art park and gallery, showcasing outdoor work by leading sculpture and land artists.
Set in the grounds of a Jacobean manor house, the formal gardens, fields and woodlands of this historic environment provide the perfect milieu for Nicky Wilson's long-held ambition to create a sculpture park.
Open to the general public from May to September and to schools, community education groups and university groups throughout the year, the associated Jupiter Education Foundation aims to get every school child in Scotland to visit or experience Jupiter Artland for free. The experience of the collection itself is enhanced by a programme of tours, talks and events and a Jupiter Artland App which provides, offsite and onsite, a rich source of background material about current and past works in the collection.
In addition to caring for Jupiter Artland, the Wilson’s play an active role in Edinburgh and Scotland’s cultural life.
Amongst other charitable activities, Robert Wilson is the Chairperson of the annual Edinburgh Art Festival and Nicky Wilson is a Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland.
Tablet 2.0 wanted to find out what drives this couple to share their energies, passions, entrepreneurial skills and resources with the wider community and what they hope to achieve by it. We were delighted to be able to discuss these questions with Nicky Wilson.
1) You both have or have had significant business interests and yet the names of these businesses do not feature in the publicity for Jupiter Artland, which is presented as a work of personal philanthropy. At a time when cultural developments are increasingly dependent on both business sponsorship and private philanthropy, what model, if any, does your experience offer that might encourage others to follow a similar route?
N.W. First and foremost Jupiter Artland is a private collection and at its center is the charitable Education Foundation. As with many private collections they are a deeply personal endeavor and the commercial interests are entirely separate.
2) How would you like to see the worlds of business sponsorship of the arts and of cultural philanthropy develop in the future and what do you think should be the relationship between these and public funding for the arts?
N.W. In a way the link between private philanthropists’ commitment to art hasn’t changed, which you can see by looking at some of the greatest galleries in the world: Tate and Guggenheim for example were both originally the vision of philanthropists. The relationship between public and private involvement has been a long and respected partnership. A new development is that in those interested in art can contribute smaller amounts though organisations such as ArtFund or Outset which has enabled the world of philanthropy to increase significantly.
3) You do not ‘trade’ in artworks and you plan to keep your collection in the family. However, it is possible that the choices you make will have a significant impact both on the marketability of the artists you select and on the purchasing decisions of both public and private operators in the art market.
N.W. We love to work in partnership and alongside other organisations but first and foremost our priority is to support the role and development of the artist. One of the singular aspects in being an outdoor sculpture collection is that we can mid-wife artists into the terrain of outdoor installations.
4) Is this something you consider in the private and public decisions you make; are there any changes you would like to see in the operations of the art market; is there anything you think could be done to make the art market more widely accessible, for instance to the young people inspired by Jupiter Artland, as potential consumers of art or even as artists themselves?
N.W. One of the central planks of Jupiter is to enjoy art in a very informal way. There are few boundaries and rules and regulations here. Our experience through our educational programme is that good art has a truly perception changing quality. Our experience is that good contemporary art, presented in an accessible way is extremely engaging to younger audiences.