Energy through 140 artists’ eyes

If you closed your eyes and tried to imagine what green energy would look like, what would you come up with?

Interpretations of the National Trust's green energy work by Coleg Menai students

That was the challenge given to 140 students from Coleg Menai, near Bangor, last year by the National Trust’s environmental team in Wales.

Their results were incredible and diverse. Now a large amount of their artwork is on display in the majestic music hall at Plas Newydd.

Energy-inspired artwork by Coleg Menai on display in the music hall at Plas Newydd

Energy-inspired artwork by Coleg Menai on display in the music hall at Plas Newydd

But why did the Trust ask them to do this – it’s all about historic buildings and butterflies, with a cream tea-for-two thrown in for good measure at the Trust isn’t it?

Well, yes. Cream tea is marvellous. But behind the scenes, National Trust staff and volunteers are working incredibly hard to use less energy and grow more energy. 

A big ambition for the Trust, working in partnership with green electricity supplier Good Energy, is to generate 50% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. One of the major schemes we are working on is a marine source heat pump in Plas Newydd. This will help the mansion in Anglesey to get off oil, which is an expensive drain on resources and damaging for the environment.

Through this artwork and exhibition it was hoped that visitors would be able to discover and engage with the National Trust’s work around renewables and sustainability and begin to think more about their own relationship with energy.coleg-menai-5-logo

coleg-menai-4Keith Jones, Environmental Practices Advisor for Wales, said: “The challenge for the students was to convey both a surprise element in the ‘I never knew the National Trust did that in those sites’, but also to relate a message in terms of ‘I could do that’.

“All too often the National Trust’s energy successes are buried deep within our stunning landscapes and buildings. The medium of art was chosen to shine a light on this groundbreaking work.”

  • Take a look at the exhibition for yourself by visiting Plas Newydd before July 19.
  • Or find out more about the National Trust’s green energy aspirations and its partnership with Good Energy at the NT website and at the NT Going Green blog.
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