Swinpups Go Walkies In Swindon Classrooms - The Big Dog Art Trail

Swinpups go walkies in Swindon classrooms

Date published: 15 March 2023

A large pack of Swinpups are set to go walkies in classrooms across Swindon this month.

Around 40 schools and community groups across town have eagerly signed up to adopt a Swinpup and take part in the world’s first balloon dog art trail, coming to Swindon over the summer.

The 80-centimetre high balloon dog sculptures will be uniquely designed by schools and community groups as part of The Big Dog Art Trail’s Learning Programme.

Once decorated, the mini Swinpups will feature on the free trail alongside 30 giant Swindog sculptures, which will be painted by professional and up-and-coming artists. The Swinpups will then return to their forever homes for schools and communities to enjoy for years to come.

Hosted by Wiltshire’s children’s hospice, Julia’s House, and global art producer, Wild in Art, the trail will feature some of Swindon’s most well-loved and historic places and will shine a light on art and culture in the heart of the town.

“These super-sized balloon sculptures are set to create a wonderful, free and family-friendly walking trail through some of our most well-loved and historic parks, landmarks and streets. 

“As an established part of the local community, providing bus services across the town, it feels right to be supporting this initiative – especially since this is all in aid of a cause close to our hearts – Julia’s House.

“This is also about encouraging local residents to re-discover the town they love. We’re all expecting thousands of visitors from outside of Swindon too – which should provide a welcome boost for businesses here.”

Kerry Edney, Fundraiser for Julia’s House

Five school children stood outside around a Swinpup sculpture in Swindon

Schools and communities will have the chance to pick up their blank Swinpup sculpture at a special Big Dog Learning Programme event later this month. The trail participants will be supported with guidance and resources to help design their sculpture and engage their young learners in the project. They will also receive top tips to help them fundraise a target amount of £500 for Julia’s House to help the charity continue its life-changing care in the local community.

“I couldn’t wait to be involved when I saw The Big Dog Trail being advertised! It’s a fantastic opportunity for the children who attend Let’s Create Art Club to be part of an exciting, inspiring community project that is both artistic, as well as active – all the while raising money for such a worthy cause, Julia’s house.

Rachel added, “I can’t wait to get started, and my aim now is to work out how I can involve as many of our little artists as possible on our Swinpup!”

Rachel Bray, Founder of Let’s Create Art Club in Swindon

Head shot of Rachel Bray, Founder of Let’s Create Art Club

This unique, creative learning adventure for children and young people is being supported by Swindon Borough Council, the trail’s official Learning Programme Partner. The council recently announced its enthusiastic support for The Big Dog Art Trail, allocating £80,000 from a special UK Government levelling up grant to part-fund the event.

“All children should have the opportunity to explore the arts and develop their creative skills with hands-on, real world experiences. Thanks to funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, we’re delighted to be supporting The Big Dog Art Trail and Julia’s House as the trail’s Learning Programme Partner. I’m very excited to see what our town’s budding young artists will create with their own Swinpups.”

Councillor Matty Courtliff, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience

Running from 15 July to 3 September 2023, The Big Dog Art Trail is expected to attract thousands of visitors from outside Swindon and encourage local residents to re-discover the town they love, providing a welcome boost for local businesses.

The major art trail will end with a grand farewell finale where all of the Swindog and Swinpup sculptures will be brought together under one roof. After that, all the Swinpups will return back to their schools and communities as a paw-fect legacy to proudly display. And the supersized Swindog sculptures will be adopted at a special auction event to raise essential funds for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

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