ON YOUR BARKS... Swindogs coming to town for huge public art trail

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the Magic Roundabout. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY
An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the Magic Roundabout. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

A PACK of unusual four-legged visitors will be attracting attention when they go walkies around Swindon’s historic parks, landmarks and streets.

The UK’s first ever balloon dog art trail will see more than 30 two-metre-tall fibreglass sculptures set up around the town to highlight culture and art while raising money for a good cause.

The Swindogs will be adopted by well-known and undiscovered artists who will hand-paint eye-catching and innovative designs on each one.

These uniquely decorated balloon animals will form a free Big Dog Art Trail next summer which is expected to attract thousands of visitors from out of town to help businesses in the area, show off the best bits of Swindon, help Swindonians rediscover parts of the town, and raise vital funds for the Julia’s House charity.

READ MORE: How Swindogs will be brought to life and all the key dates

READ MORE: Ted's story - How Julia's House helps boy with terminal condition

READ MORE: The vital work of Julia's House for families in Wiltshire

CEO Martin Edwards 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.”

 

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at Lydiard Park. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY
An unpainted Swindog sculpture at Lydiard Park. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at Lydiard Park. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Schools, nurseries and community groups will also be invited to get involved in the project this autumn and create designs for their own mini puppy sculptures which will be part of the main trail.

The paw-some public art spectacle will run from July 15 to September 3 2023 and end with a grand farewell finale where all of the Swindogs will be brought under one roof and auctioned off to forever homes.

This event 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 elephant parade in Worcester and cows in Cambridge.

Mr Edwards added: “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.”

The very first painted Swindog, decorated by local artist Hannah Dosanjh, will be unveiled this evening at a special launch event at the Steam Museum for businesses who are interested in sponsoring their own balloon dog sculpture.

 

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the County Ground. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY
An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the County Ground. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the County Ground. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Wild in Art managing director and co-founder Charlie Langhorne 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 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.”

The Swindon Advertiser is proud to announce our support for the project as The Big Dog Art Trail’s official media partner.

Editor Daniel Chipperfield said: “We at the paper are hugely excited to be getting involved in such a positive project for the town.

“Not only will it raise a huge amount of money for such an important cause, but it will help put Swindon’s favourite places on the map.

“Thousands of children and adults alike will enjoy the trail and we will do our utmost to showcase the good work that the project will fund.”

 

An unpainted Swindog sculpture in the town centre. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY
An unpainted Swindog sculpture in the town centre. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

An unpainted Swindog sculpture in the town centre. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Swindon businesses are now being invited to sponsor their own Swindog and show their support for this community event. The Wiltshire-based specialist travel agency Imagine Cruising was the first company to sponsor a sculpture.

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.”

 

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at Lydiard Park. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY
An unpainted Swindog sculpture at Lydiard Park. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at Lydiard Park. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Coun Matty Courtliff is Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, heritage, leisure and town centre experience.

He 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 how to become a sponsor or to get the latest Big Dog Art Trail updates, visit the website www.bigdogarttrail.co.uk

 

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the County Ground. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY
An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the County Ground. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

An unpainted Swindog sculpture at the County Ground. Picture: SIMON WARD PHOTOGRAPHY