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Mount’s Bay is home to an ancient submerged forest, an enchanting phenomenon that is rarely seen, but occasionally uncovered at very low tides. In 2021, the forest will emerge with a reimagined arts commission by award-winning artist Emma Smith.

Recalled in the name of St Michael’s Mount - Karrek Loos yn Koos - which translates as ‘Grey Rock in the Wood’, it is thought the Mount’s Bay forest reached inland before its submergence, linking what is now land and sea.

Delivered by the EXPERIENCE project, it will be located along the upgraded Penzance to Marazion Coast Path. Due to be installed in autumn 2021, it will provide the opportunity to reflect on the bay, and its geological and ecological importance.

Emma Smith’s proposal was selected by a panel of experts, and representatives from the local community. The panel were impressed by Emma’s community engagement approach, which is at the core of her concept development. She will work in collaboration with the team at Newlyn Art Gallery & the Exchange to engage local residents in this arts trail. 

The artwork will celebrate the power of collective and shared imagination. Made up of ‘seeing sticks’ along the path, the artwork will create the impression of clusters of trees, inviting the public to imagine the forest that was lost to the sea. Visitors to the path will be able to sit, lean and engage with the sculptures. A place to encourage imaginative contemplation and reflection across the Bay.

Emily Kent, Cornwall Council’s Head of Economy, Skills and Culture comments:
This is a visionary project that will deliver an iconic art trail for the Mount’s Bay area. Beginning with consultation with the local community. This project meets our Creative Manifesto’s sustainable cultural tourism ambitions. Whilst the concept has climate emergency at its core, linking with the Gyllyn Warbarth, Together we can: The Cornwall Plan. It will create a legacy for generations whilst attracting visitors in a sustainable way.”

Emma Smith, selected artist comments:
I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity. I am excited to explore how this extraordinary geology can be collectively imagined. This will encourage conversations on local ecology and climate emergency. This location means a lot to me and I can’t wait to work with residents to realise this work.”

Florence Sibley, Truro & Penwith College student, comments:
“I loved how this proposal related to the location. I have lived in Penzance all my life, but I was not aware of the submerged forest. You get a lot of art trails where it doesn’t really matter where they are, but this proposal is so closely linked to the history of Mount’s Bay. It really wouldn’t work if it was anywhere else and it will bring this amazing ancient forest to life for the local community.

Emma Smith is an international artist based in the UK. She has a social practice and creates work for the public realm. Her work reveals the extraordinary ways we are connected to each other and the landscape. Looking at hidden forms of connection, unearthing histories and proposing new futures. Emma’s work involves the public in its research, development and realisation. Bringing together diverse fields of interest and celebrating local knowledge. Previous commissions include Tate Modern, Barbican, Bluecoat, Arnolfini, Kettle’s Yard and Whitechapel Gallery.

There will be an in-conversation event between artist Emma Smith and James Green, Director of Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, in an online event on Thu 17 June at 11.30am.  More details and how to book on our website.

The arts trail is part of the EXPERIENCE project, which promotes experiential tourism and sustainable economic growth during October to March. Cornwall’s funding will support activities that encourage a sustainable cultural tourism approach. Connecting visitors with the distinct historical, geographical and cultural assets of the local area.  It aims to leave a positive impact for the community and visitors alike.

Due to run until June 2023, the project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme under the Natural and Cultural Heritage funding category. Of the €16.1m ERDF committed to the total project, €1.9m is allocated to Cornwall Council, which is investing a further €0.9m.


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The EXPERIENCE project is a €23.3 million project, promoting off-season tourism and encouraging spend with local businesses across six areas in the Channel region (Cornwall, Brittany, Pas-de-Calais, Compiègne, Norfolk and Kent).
Led by Norfolk County Council, EXPERIENCE involves 14 project partners in both France and the UK.
The project area will increase visitor value by 5% in the off-season and aims to attract 24 million new visitors spending €147m by 2023.
EXPERIENCE is a project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020.
The project will share its learning and successful approaches openly so that regions elsewhere will be able to replicate, bringing long term benefits across the France (Channel) England area and beyond even after the lifetime of the project.



Founded in 1895 by John Passmore Edwards the philanthropist and social reformer, 2020 marked the 125th anniversary of Newlyn Art Gallery. Passmore Edwards was committed to improving people’s lives and felt that art had an important role to play. This vision has inspired us to think more ambitiously about our work with communities and how we might involve them more actively in shaping and leading our work. We are particularly interested in how the gallery might embrace its civic role and become relevant and important to more people.

As an Arts Council Collection National Partner, and through the New Voices programme, we are exploring ways in which we can give a voice to different communities and individuals as curators, drawing on the 8,000 works contained within the Collection.  We are working with LGBTQIA+ young people, through the Intercom Trust and their YAY groups, to develop an exhibition and programme of events in 2021 to celebrate queer histories and creativity. Another project using the Arts Council Collection will be with WILD Young Parents Project, a Cornwall-wide charity supporting young families.

Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange is an educational arts charity, an Arts Council England National Portfolio organisation, an Arts Council Collection National Partner, and a Cornwall Council Strategic Arts Client. We present contemporary work in all media by regional, national and international artists across two sites in West Cornwall. In recent years, our programmes have reached beyond the galleries into other settings, including care homes, schools and other public spaces, from beaches to places of worship, in order to realise our commitment to reach the broadest and largest audiences we can. 

We were thrilled to be named as part of the Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme. We will be working with Jerwood Arts to deliver six artists’ residencies, collectively known as The Jerwood Newlyn Residency, between 2021 and 2022.