The Big Dog Art Trail
Swindon goes walkies from Saturday 15th July - 3rd September.
30 supersized Swindogs and over 40 Swinpups have been unleashed across Swindon this summer.
The summer spectacle of giant Swindogs creates a free and family-friendly art trail through some of Swindon's most well-loved parks, places and historic landmarks.
Brought to life by Wild In Art and designed by local and international artists, the uniquely decorated sculptures will create the UK's first-ever balloon dog art trail and help raise essential funds for Julia's House Children's Hospice.
The Swinpups have been designed by children from across Swindon who took part in an inspirational learning programme. Decorated in classrooms and community spaces, the Swinpups explore topics that are important to the children and groups who have taken part in the project. At the end of the trail, the Swinpups will return to their fur-ever homes with the schools and groups that created them.
It all started with an email...
"Secret Swindon photography mission"?!
I've been a volunteer for Julia's House since 2015 and I'm used to the wide variety of photography requests the charity would send me, but this was different! Laura's email had "secret, and Swindon" in the title and I was immediately curious.
That was 10th May 2022. Eight days later I headed to Swindon and met up with the Julia's House team and a large, white, balloon dog sculpture. We visited Lydiard Park, Swindon Town FC and other parts of the town photographing the dog in situ. Plenty of the public were curious as to what on earth we were doing!
It would prove to be a week I'd never forget because four days after that first shoot took place my Dad passed away.
I was immediately interested in the project and offered to support Julia's House by providing as much photography as needed. The Big Dog Art Trail gave me something to focus on in the days, weeks and months after Dad went.
Just some of the photography captured during the project included:
the original launch evening at STEAM,
photographing the original Swindog being painted by Hannah Dosanjh,
sponsor events at the NSBRC,
the learner programme launch at Wyvern Theatre,
individual imagery for The Big Dog Art Trail app
photographing sponsors and artists,
imagery for Big Dog literature, press launches, and much more.
It's fair to say that I know more about Swindon and it's culture, heritage and fantastic open spaces now than I ever thought I would!
Fourteen months later, and the rest as they say is history.
The Big Dog Art Trail has been a huge undertaking for its Project Manager, Chris Hyde, and the team at Julia's House and I want to congratulate them all on an amazing achievement so far and thank them for inviting me to join them on this project. It's been a privilege being the Big Dog Art Trail photographer.
There's more to come including the Farewell Weekend on 16th - 17th September at STEAM Museum where you'll be able to see all the sculptures under one roof for their final bow wow. Then there's the Grand Auction, also at STEAM on Tuesday 19th September.
Until then, why not take part in The Big Dog Art Trail
and help raise vital funds for Julia's House.
Big Dog Art Trail
Sponsors and Supporters
Community Partner - Imagine Cruising
Media Partner - Swindon Advertiser
Learning Programme Partner - Swindon Borough Council
Logistics Partner - Beard Construction
Event Photographer - Simon Ward Photography
Content Partner - Mad Mash Media
Annabel Karmel | Arval | Better GLL | CG Utilities | Dick Lovett | Hanson
Intel | Jazzbones Creative | McArthur Glen Designer Outlet
Nationwide Building Society | NSBRC | One Family | Old Town Business Association
Persimmon | RWE | Swindon's Bus Company | Swindon Town FC Supporters Trust
Swindon Wildcats | Telenco | The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire
Tunnock's | Wasdell Group | Wyvern Theatre, Swindon | Zelf Moving Solutions