Who let the dogs out?! Swindogs on the loose in Swindon
Date published: 13 July 2023
THE BIG DOG ART TRAIL KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND, SATURDAY 15TH JULY 2023
The world’s first balloon dog sculpture art trail is unleashed in Swindon this weekend and it’s FREE to visit!
From 15th July until 3rd September 2023, 72 individually-painted dog sculptures – the giant Swindogs and smaller super-cute Swinpups – will be dotted around the town for everyone to enjoy, just in time for the summer holidays. The family-friendly trail will raise money for the local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.
Children’s cookery author and dog lover Annabel Karmel MBE helped launch The Big Dog Art Trail this week when she joined a selection of these pawsome canines at Lydiard Park in Swindon for a dog show like no other.
The Big Dog Art Trail features 30 Swindogs, with stunning designs created by national and local artists, and 42 Swinpups created by local schools, youth and community groups. The unique designs, unveiled for the first time this weekend include a giant hot dog, a Swindog featuring hundreds of colourful butterflies, a sculpture covered entirely in pennies and a steam punk Swindog designed by one of the youngest ever artists on a Wild in Art trail.
The Swindogs have all been sponsored and paid for by the local business community and Swindon Borough Council has supported the trail’s Learning Programme for schools.
Covering a 16-mile trail around town, this unmissable FREE family event will take locals and visitors on a tour of Swindon’s finest landmarks, retailers, streets, parks and public spaces and is fully accessible.
The Big Dog Art Trail is a community project presented by Julia’s House and Wild in Art to raise vital funds for the Wiltshire-based children’s hospice charity, which provides care and support for seriously ill local children and their families at its hospice in Devizes or in families’ homes.
Annabel Karmel is a long-standing supporter of Julia’s House and patron of the charity. Having lost her first child at a young age, Annabel understands the value of respite in times of heartache and stress.
“My three month old daughter died from encephalitis in hospital, but I would have liked to have had somewhere like the Julia’s House children’s hospice to come and take her,” says Annabel. “In those times when you feel so desperate, to have a room where you can be with your child when they’re coming to the end of their life, would have been very comforting. The work Julia’s House does to support children with life limiting conditions and their families is amazing and I urge everyone to support The Big Dog Art Trail and this fantastic cause.”
After the trail ends on 3rd September, the complete pack of Swindogs and Swinpups will be brought together for a grand Farewell Weekend on 16th and 17th September at Swindon’s historic STEAM Museum, before they are auctioned on 19th September. All of the money raised will go to Julia’s House, which relies almost entirely on public funding to provide its lifeline of care to local families.
“We have been working on the trail for over a year with local businesses, the council, local and nationally renowned artists and around 40 schools – it has been an amazing community partnership,” said Mike Bartlett, Deputy CEO at Julia’s House. “We’re so excited to be revealing all 72 sculptures, including our own Julia’s House Swindog, which has been created by the children at the Wiltshire hospice, together with local artist Hannah Dosanjh.
“It’s going to be a great free event for everyone in Swindon this summer and a big visitor draw to the town. We’re so grateful to everyone who has got behind the trail and helped to make it happen. The money it will raise will make a huge difference to the life changing care we provide to seriously ill children and families in Swindon and across Wiltshire.”