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Great art in the great outdoors – Cass Sculpture

Forget browsing quietly in a gallery, shuffling with the crowds or praying your kids will last five minutes before loud declarations of boredom. Cass Sculpture Foundation at Goodwood, near Chichester takes the whole thing outdoors, putting the discovery back into art and giving you and yours room to roam.

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Triton III by Bryan Kneale

I’d been meaning to get to this world-class site for a while and it didn’t disappoint. Some of the works are on a large scale, some interact with their environment, taking on moss or refracting light. I particularly liked a glass staircase and these shiny, shiny tents.

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Encampment by Diane Maclean

I was prompted to visit by A Beautiful Disorder (on until 6 Nov 2016) the first major exhibition of newly commissioned outdoor sculpture by contemporary Chinese artists to be shown in the UK and the first time Cass has hosted a major exhibition by international artists.

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Why do they never take colour photos? Bust of Mao by Song Ta

After what must have been some feat of unpacking and arranging, 16 of these works sits alongside the permanent exhibition which has works by several famous names like Antony Gormley (though admittedly not his most exciting piece).

There are some quite witty and interactive pieces.

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Love this tree made from tyres – Icarus Palm by Douglas White

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It Pays to Pray by Rose Finn-Kelcey The vending machines will dispense prayers for 20p!

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The picnic area!

Though obviously people are expected to be respectful and keep an eye that kids aren’t getting too boisterous with pieces worth thousands of pounds, there are very few artworks that can’t be touched. Some, indicated on the trail map that you pick up at reception, actually encourage you to interact, stooping through arches, and walking through rooms.

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Folly by Sean Henry

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Molar by Jennifer Wen Ma. The one indoor work incorporates Chinese and UK landscapes and pools of ink.

I visited on a sunny day at the beginning of October but if the weather’s not so favourable there’s a fair bit of cover from the trees.

The whole woodland experience is so enjoyable. I can think of few situations in which you can appreciate art at the same time as getting some exercise, unless perhaps you do sit-ups in front of a painting. Though dogs aren’t allowed, kids should love racing on to find the next piece, discovering a series of plug sockets in tree trunks, seeing the full size depiction of a blue whale made from scaffolding poles or coming up against this spooky band that reminded me of Han Solo getting frozen in Star Wars.

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Host by Peter Burke

You can even pick up special children’s trail maps from reception along with the adult versions.

The Cass site is open between April and early November. Entry is £12.50 for adults, £6.50 for children over five and under-fives go free. And if you’ve a few thousand down the back of the sofa you can even buy some of the artworks. As a bonus, it’s under 20 mins drive from the Crab & Lobster gastro-pub at Siddlesham, which makes the perfect lunch stop as part of a day trip and even offers overnight stays in luxury rooms. Check out my review here.

Cass Sculpture Foundation, New Barn Hill, Goodwood, West Sussex, PO18 0QP, 01243 538 449 sculpture.org.uk

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