A historical venue
The intriguing Wanås Castle, in Scania, goes back to the 15th century and has an interesting history due to the fact that it is situated in former war-torn borderlands between Denmark and Sweden. Danish Snapphane guerilla used it as a base when confronting Swedish troops. During the Nordic Seven Years’ War the castle was burned down by Swedes and rebuilt in 1566 with remnants of the old castle left inside the new building. Later, in 1658, Sweden annexed Scania.
Today Wanås Castle is privately owned and on the grounds operates both Wanås Estate and Wanås Art. Wanås Estate is active in forestry and agriculture, hunting and property management. Next to this beautiful white medieval castle, in a unique setting including the castle park and the wonderful bright beech forest, some 50 site-specific permanent contemporary sculptures are at display around the year.
Wanås Art, including the sculpture park, was initiated by Marika Wachtmeister in 1987 and has by now grown up into an internationally renowned art center. Both national and international artists are invited here annually to contribute with site-specific art-work installations designed to tempt both novice and connoisseurs of all ages. The aim is to provide for playful learning to familiarize the visitor with art and culture.
Artists like Yoko Ono (Wish Tree for Wanås 2011), Robert Wilson (A House for Edwin Denby, 2000), Jenny Holzer (Wanås Wall, 2002), Ann Hamilton (Lignum, 2002) and Ann-Sofi Sidén (Fideicommissum, 2000), to mention only a few, have their works at display here.
A Vision for Learning
From contemporary art Wanås has also moved into other visual arts like design, dance and architecture. Wanås is offering each and everyone with a chance of being creative with a special interest, for educational purposes, towards thousands of children. Programs are designed together e.g. with Creative School funded by the Swedish Arts Council as well as other special projects taking into consideration special groups like people with disabilities or no prior artistic experience.
What has come out of it.
Wanås is privately owned and its functions cover more than just a castle. It operates an ecologically branded agricultural complex and displays a contemporary art collection as well as a sculpture park. Additionally a shop and an ecological coffee house serve some 60-80.000 visitors annually. Guided tours and workshops are organized with current exhibitions in mind. Wanås is also busy publishing books and organizing seminars.
All in all Wanås has developed into a major authoritative tourist attraction that offer ever changing programs for the visitors. It enriches the community culturally in a compelling educational way taking also into consideration environmental issues through its special programs (Ecolabelling Sweden, Global Ecosphere Retreat, EU Wildlife Estate).
As a result Wanås has taken a position of influence among all its stakeholders.