A place with a soul
The area in which Odapark is situated, was formerly called ‘Reyndersbos’ (Reynders wood), and was called ‘Notarisberg’ (Notary hill) in the vernacular. At the end of the 19th century it was purchased by the Ursulinen Sisters, who had a cloister with boarding school which was connected to the Jerusalem grammar school for girls in the center of Venray. They thought the hill would be a nice place for young girls who “would be able to play about and make a racket as much as they wanted”, according to the nuns. This is how the park originated, with a hilly character, a forest with pines, bushes and exotic trees, a playground and numerous bowers, and a Tea House on top of a hill, from which the sisters could keep a close eye on the girls.
In 1981 the city of Venray bought the park, which was suffering from deterioration, from the Ursulinen Sisters, and made it accessible to all inhabitants of Venray. The Venray Art Circle Foundation considered it a perfect site for their outdoor events, and in 1992 it was incorporated in the Odapark Foundation. Subsequently, the Tea House was renovated and in 1999 extended with a new Project Room for exhibitions and a Foyer. Since then Odapark organizes, with the Pavilion as operating base, grand exhibitions and art events based on specific themes, in which international artists are enabled to show a vision on the world around us through their work.
Odapark shows the ability of art and artists to envisage important own and current affairs in the mind, as real. Just like a legend, like the one of Saint Oda, spreads the entire complex of impressions in a vaguely outlined but yet characteristic image.