Greenheart is one of five sculptures that were commissioned by the Great North Forest. Artist William Pym was selected to design a scheme to link the five sites through sculpture. The sites - Watergate, Monkton, Herrington, Rainton Meadows and Hetton Lyons - all linked by their shared past as reclaimed landscapes that used to be involved with mining and the processing of coal and in the future as accessible green spaces.
The artist proposed five similar sculptures for each of the five sites. Each sculpture takes the same form, a walk-through structure located on or close to existing paths. The sculptures are made from weathering steel and linked by two lines or rails of steel, representing the paths and railways. Each sculpture incorporates a planting scheme of shrubs or trees, to contrast with and sometimes grow through and over the works. This element recognises that these landscapes will, like the sculpture, continue to change and mature over time.
The central detail within each sculpture was developed as a result of research and consultation between the artist and local people. The sculpture's setting and the central details reflect the history, heritage and environmental nature of each individual site. The sculpture at Watergate is situated on a hill overlooking a large expanse of the park. Benches made from Greenheart timber within metal frames offer the visitor the opportunity to rest and enjoy a period of contemplation.
The community education programme was an important element of the project. Pre-school children from Lobley Hill Nursery worked for two days with artist Sam McGeever and dancer John Quinn. The project explored movement in relation to sculptural forms based on the Greenheart sculpture at Watergate Forest Park.
The sculpture at Watergate was commissioned in partnership with Gateshead Council.