As the world prepares to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, plans to welcome the Earth to Lancaster Priory are gathering pace.

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do? And the city’s oldest church is doing its bit by organising an extensive events programme focused around the visit of the spectacular Earth artwork – Gaia – this summer.

Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia – the personification of the earth, according to Greek mythology – features the detailed NASA imagery of the earth’s surface.
It is produced by Luke Jerram, the artist behind the Museum of the Moon which visited the Priory in 2019.
Gaia will revolve from the Priory’s rafters from June 24-July 17 accompanied by events on the themes of community, nature, sustainability and home.

The events are supported by Lancaster BID, Oglethorpe, Sturton and Gillibrand, Mazuma, ICT Reverse and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

On the first Saturday, June 25, stalls and stands from local environmental groups signposting to events within the community will be outside the church.

Friday nights throughout Gaia’s visit will see special music events including the popular Blue Moon Band on July 1 and a Night at the Opera on July 8. On the final Saturday night, July 16, the King’s Men choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge will perform.

Live music will also accompany Gaia on Thursdays while Wednesdays will see guest lectures, presentations and question and answer sessions. On Tuesday evenings, there will be opportunities to participate in Tai Chi and Qigong, and on Monday evenings, there’s yoga sessions under the Earth sculpture.
Other events planned include an art workshop, a quiz, and day-long activities with Sewing Café Lancaster and Relic Plastic.

To complement Gaia, an audio and film experience – Four Rivers – reflecting the sounds of Morecambe Bay produced by Syrian artist Aous Hamoud will take place in St Nicholas Chapel while the Regimental Chapel will be set aside for prayer and spiritual activities.

As happened during the visit of the Museum of the Moon to the Priory in 2019, volunteers are needed to help steward events. People can volunteer for a morning, afternoon or night shifts or opt for a couple of hours. They’ll be required from June 24 and briefings on their duties will take place on May 18, 11am-noon; May 19, 7.30-8.30pm; May 20, 1.45-2.45pm and May 21, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Contact steph@lancasterpriory.org for more information and to register for a briefing.

For more information on Gaia’s visit, booking details and volunteer opportunities, see lancasterpriory.org/gaia

Editor’s Notes
Gaia has been created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council
(NERC), Bluedot and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres.
Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts
projects. Bristol-based, but working internationally, Jerram has created a number of
extraordinary art projects over the last 21 years and is known worldwide for his large scale public engagement artworks including the Museum of the Moon, experienced by more than 3 million people.