More than 30 larger-than-life balloon dog sculptures – the Swindogs – will be unleashed across the town, and organisers are calling on businesses to sponsor a balloon pooch.
The uniquely decorated sculptures will create the UK’s first-ever balloon dog art trail and will raise essential funds for the local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.
The Big Dog Art Trail will create a free walking trail through some of Swindon’s most well-loved and historic parks, landmarks and streets and will shine a light on art and culture in the heart of the town. As well as encouraging local residents to re-discover the town they love, the paw-some public art spectacle is expected to attract thousands of visitors from outside the town, providing a welcome boost for local businesses.
Each of the two-metre-high balloon dogs will be adopted by different well-known and undiscovered artists, who will hand paint their own eye-catching and innovative designs on the sculpture.
The very first painted Swindog, decorated by local artist Hannah Dosanjh, was unveiled yesterday (Tuesday) at a special launch event at STEAM museum for businesses interested in sponsoring their own balloon dog sculpture.
Running from 15 July to 3 September 2023, the art trail will end with a grand farewell finale where all of the Swindog sculptures will be brought together under one roof. The giant one-of-a-kind sculptures will then head off to their forever homes after being adopted at a special auction event to raise money for Julia’s House children’s hospice.
The Big Dog Art Trail is being brought to Swindon by Julia’s House and global public art producer, Wild in Art, which has previously hosted trails in cities across the UK and worldwide, including the recent elephant parade in Worcester and cows in Cambridge.
Martin Edwards, CEO for Julia’s House, said: “We’re so excited to bring this bold and unique event to Swindon in 2023. It will give the local business community a huge boost and will attract a throng of visitors to see the super-sized Swindogs. We’re delighted to be supporting the thriving art scene in the town and encouraging families to explore their local area.”
“The balloon dog sculpture was the perfect match for Julia’s House, as art and play enable us to make fun and special memories for families, which is an important aspect of our care for the most seriously ill children in Swindon and throughout Wiltshire. Crucially for Julia’s House, The Big Dog Art Trail will also help us to raise awareness and vital funds so we can continue to be a lifeline for the growing number of local families who depend on our care.”
Charlie Langhorne, managing director and co-founder Wild in Art said, “We are delighted to be working with the team at Julia’s House on this exciting art trail which will bring a brand new Wild in Art sculpture to Swindon. I have no doubt that the balloon dog will capture the imaginations of residents and visitors alike, while helping to raise vital funds for Julia’s House. With your support we can create an event that will have significant impact during the summer of 2023.”
Swindon businesses are now being invited to sponsor their own Swindog and show their support for this positive community event. The Wiltshire-based specialist travel agency, Imagine Cruising, was the first company to sponsor a Swindog sculpture.
Imagine Cruising CEO, Robin Deller, said, “I know I speak for the whole Imagine Cruising team when I say that we are continually humbled by the care and support that Julia’s House provides to local children and their families. Their tireless work provides hope and a little happiness for families in unthinkable situations, and we are very proud to sponsor them. We’re so excited to be a part of this brand-new initiative coming to Swindon in 2023. Stay tuned and we hope to see you there!”
Councillor Matty Courtliff, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, heritage, leisure and town centre experience, said, “We are fortunate in Swindon to have a fantastic arts and cultural scene where we are proud of our creativity. So when the organisers of the Big Dog Art Trail chose Swindon to host their eight-week arts extravaganza, they chose the perfect place to unleash their creations.
“I personally cannot wait to see all the fabulous designs on the Swindogs as part of the trail next summer and I am sure it will prove to be a big draw for families and visitors to our town centre, promoting civic pride and providing an important boost to our local economy.”
To find out about business sponsorship, visit www.bigdogarttrail.co.uk
Image: Simon Ward Photography