The Big Dogs are coming to New College Swindon!

24 Apr 2023

We are very excited to announce that our students have been given the opportunity to get involved in one of the biggest local events of summer. The Big Dog Art Trail is the first balloon dog sculpture art trail to take place in the UK, and it’s coming to Swindon! The event is being run by Wild in Art in aid of Julia’s House, a children’s hospice and charity, who have been supporting children with life-threatening and life-shortening conditions since 2003.

The full trail will feature 30 supersized Swindog sculptures, as well as 40 smaller Swinpup sculptures, which will be designed in collaboration with many local businesses and sponsors. New College Swindon’s Art and Design students were briefed on creating bespoke designs for a Swindog that reflect three of the business’s supporting the event: the Wyvern Theatre, the National Self Build and Renovation Centre and Arval. The themes the students have been working with are pantomime/Snow White for the Wyvern, sustainable forms of travel for Arval and sustainability/climate change for NSBRC.

The students’ designs have been shortlisted and have been pitched to the all three sponsors, who will then decide which design they would like to go with on their sculpture for the summer art trail. Students will also be responsible for designing a Swinpup sculpture as part of the Big Dog Art Trail’s Learning Programme. This programme will see schools, colleges and children’s nurseries adopt and design their very own 80 centimetre-high balloon dog sculpture. Our Carpentry team have also got in on the action by creating plinths for several Swindogs.

Art Lecturer Russell Maggs commented: ‘It’s really good that the students are getting the opportunity to work with real-life employers. For their artwork to eventually be on public display for the people of Swindon to see and them to have pride in their work and their local area is fantastic. I’ve been teaching a long time and I’ve never seen an opportunity like this for the students and they are fully embracing it and enjoying some incredible experiences which will do them a world of good going forward.’

The Big Dog Art Trail will run from Saturday 15th July until Sunday 3rd September, with designs being showcased in some of Swindon’s most popular destinations. Both the NSBRC and Arval UK sculptures will feature at the iconic Lydiard Park, while the panto-inspired sculpture will feature at the Wyvern Theatre in the town centre.

Chris Hyde, Project Manager for The Big Dog Art Trail, said: “We have been blown away by the enthusiasm shown by the students at Swindon New College and their lecturers.

At the end of the trail, the student-designed sculptures will join all the others at a grand farewell weekend. The giant one-of-a-kind creations will then head off to their forever homes after being adopted at a special auction event to raise money for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

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