North York Moors National Park seeks artist for dark skies commission

The North York Moors National Park is seeking an innovative UK artist to produce a body of work that reflects the importance of our dark skies and the negative impact of artificial light pollution on the natural world.

By Duncan Atkins
Friday, 5th February 2021, 12:47 pm

The National Park’s Inspired by… gallery at Danby is offering the funded 10-month commission, which will culminate in an exhibition of the artist’s work during the 2022 Dark Skies Festival.

The North York Moors National Park has long championed art as an important way of conveying aspects of the natural world and now, with its newly designated International Dark Sky Reserve status, it is keen to engage the creativity and inspiration of artists to draw attention to the night skies.

The National Park will help arrange study visits and make introductions to astronomers, dark sky specialists and environmentalists to help the appointed artist understand the negative consequences of creeping light pollution.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

Milky Way above Helmsley.

The artist will be appointed in April 2021 and will have until next February to complete the commission in time for the Dark Skies Festival which runs from February 22 to March 6, 2022.

In the first instance, the Inspired by… gallery is asking for artists to submit brief details on their approach to the project by March 15.

Sally Ann Smith, curator for the Inspired by… gallery, said: “Truly dark skies such as those in our National Park are crammed with over 2,000 stars, which makes them an extraordinarily beautiful sight.

"However protecting the darkness in our skies goes beyond wanting to preserve their visual appeal as the encroachment of artificial light is having serious repercussions, whether it’s upsetting people’s own body clock rhythms or harming the nocturnal behaviour of species.

“Art has the power to raise awareness of these issues, stimulating debate as to why we should all care and what we as individuals can do.

"We are looking for an artist who can help ignite people’s passions and inspire them to think about the impact of light pollution.”

The North York Moors National Park was awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status in December 2020 at the same time as the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Click here for full details.