The Serenity Education Centre, a £2.2m environmental education facility for city children and the wider community, has officially opened in Hyde Park. This inspiring, eco-friendly centre has been funded by a unique collaboration between the Royal Parks Foundation, Halcyon Gallery and The Royal Parks; creating a new model of fundraising where the charity, private and public sector work together to generate income for education purposes through public art.
The Serenity Education Centre will tackle the need to encourage city children (aged 5-18 years) to explore nature and the environment, outside the classroom. The new education centre features nature trails, a dipping pond with underwater endoscopes, a mini-allotment, butterfly bank, lightning tree and mini-beast habitats, and will provide education programmes linked to the National Curriculum all year round, including a secondary school programme.
This new environmental addition to Hyde Park ia a magnificent bronze sculpture created by British sculptor Simon Gudgeon, found on the southern shores of the Serpentine. Around the sculpture’s base lie 1,000 plaques, with personal inscriptions at £1,000 each, raising £1m for the new Serenity Education Centre. The public’s support for the Serenity Project has been overwhelming, from the sale of dedicated plaques, donations, sponsorship of classrooms and gardens to donation boxes.
As Patron of the Foundation, Prince Charles pledged his support for the project and Halcyon Gallery have been instrumental in spearheading the fundraising programme for the project through organising a number of high profile events and exhibitions, creating new partner alliance opportunities and work with their own art patrons.
Paul Green commented; “Development in the areas of art, youth and education is at the core ethos of Halcyon Gallery. Through our involvement with charities like the Royal Parks Foundation, we actively engage and empower young people through our philanthropic vision to safe guard their future.”
The Royal Parks Foundation is the charity which supports London’s eight magnificent Royal Parks. The foundation, whose Royal Patron is HRH Prince Charles, raises funds for a wide variety of projects from wildlife conservation and landscape restoration, to community sport and art. With over 1 million visitors to Hyde Park each year, one of the key responsibilities of the Royal Parks Foundation is to educate future generations about the environment and the urgent need for its protection.
Since it’s unveiling in 2009, Serenity has established itself as a major new landmark in Hyde Park. With its flowing lines and elegant simplicity, Simon Gudgeon’s sculpture is a distinctive piece of modern art that celebrates this great Park’s role in London as a place for relaxation, education and the appreciation of the simple beauty of the natural world in the twenty-first century. Yet, despite this striking modernity, with its graceful profile and green patina, Serenity has a timeless and organic feel that allows it to blend into its surroundings.
Serenity now sits in many important collections and gardens around the world including Highgrove, the private gardens of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was presented with the Serenity sculpture at the Award World Fellowship Dinner in 2009 and their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Henry of Wales were presented with Serenity at The Dalwhinnie Crook Charity Polo Match in 2009.
The excitement and the mood of optimism that surrounded the sculpture at its unveiling continues today, drawing crowds who want to look at it, touch it, or, if they’re children, run around it, playing tag or hide and seek. Almost all of them want to contribute in whatever they can to the hugely worthwhile project for which Serenity is the symbol. The legacy of Serenity Serenitywill benefit and inspire future generations.
Serenity Education Centre at The LookOut, Hyde Park will be available for schools to book from the beginning of October. For all education enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7086 8057. Visit www.lookout.org.uk