Owls descend on city as Birmingham prepares for biggest ever art event

Birmingham will become a virtual aviary in 2015 as a host of feathered friends descend on the city as part of its largest ever mass participation art event.

Presented by public art specialists, Wild in Art, in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital ‘The Big Hoot’ will see over 100 individually designed 165cm tall owl statues appearing throughout the city over ten weeks during summer 2015, helping to showcase the wide cultural appeal of Birmingham.

Funded by a host of corporate sponsors from around the region, the sculptures will be brought to life by local artists in an initiative which will provide a visually stunning trail of art, uniting businesses, residents and visitors to Birmingham whilst raising vital funds for the hospital.

Enabling people to become a tourist in their own city, owls will be placed not only in the city centre, but in a host of locations across all ten districts of Birmingham, encouraging residents to follow the trail and discover areas of the wider region which they may not have explored before.

‘The Big Hoot’ will also see a focused citywide education programme in partnership with local schools, encouraging teachers to use creativity as a device for learning. The scheme will offer an opportunity for children to decorate 200 90cm ‘owlet’ sculptures, which will be displayed at various venues for the duration of the event, before being returned to the schools to keep as a memento of their participation.

The project is the latest high profile public art project from Wild in Art, which famously hosted a similar event in Bristol which featured various giant statues depicting Gromit of ‘Wallace and Gromit’ fame, attracting worldwide headlines.

The company has also hosted exhibitions in locations ranging from Norwich to Cape Town, as well as an Olympic mascot trail ahead of London 2012, each significantly increasing footfall to the host cities, helping to give local businesses a boost whilst generating increased profile.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said:

“The Big Hoot is a hugely exciting venture for Birmingham as a city, and we at Birmingham Children’s Hospital are honoured to have been selected to benefit from the half a million pounds we hope to raise as a result.

“This donation will help to support the ground-breaking work we carry out at the hospital, but more than that, the Big Hoot will also inspire pride in our much loved city and offer families a fun and free day out exploring everything that greater Birmingham has to offer.”

Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art said:

“We’re proud to unveil our latest project, The Big Hoot, which will be brought to life throughout Birmingham over ten weeks next summer. The initiative is designed to unite communities and boost the profile of the city as a whole, and we’re looking forward to getting started.

“Our public art projects have a proven track record of increasing tourism and heightening the profile of our host cities, and we’re confident that this will continue in Birmingham, as visitors and residents alike discover the city through this unique and visually stunning artistic trail.”

The launch heralds the call to invite participation from artists, schools and companies to get involved in creating a very special and memorable event for communities and visitors alike to enjoy over next summer.

With The Big Hoot set to get underway in summer 2015, local companies can get involved now by taking up one of several sponsorship packages which are up for grabs.

Private equity firm, LDC was the first to sign up to a high profile association with the project. Rob Pendleton, Marketing Director said,

“Wild in Art projects never fail to create an exhilarating buzz amongst regional communities, both here in the UK and internationally, and this is why LDC is once again lending its support to this very worthwhile initiative.

“The Big Hoot will enable people from across the region to celebrate Birmingham’s rich cultural diversity, extraordinary industrial heritage and unique vibrant communities, whilst at the same time raising significant funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital – an institution which has been a significant part of LDC’s fundraising efforts for many years. LDC is delighted and honoured to lend its support to such a worthwhile cause which will put Birmingham in the spotlight as the place to be!”

Ranging from a £6,000 owl sponsorship, enabling companies to benefit from a wide range of marketing and PR opportunities, to one of three ‘Presenting Partner’ packages, there’s a wide choice of options for businesses of all sizes.