News

Something to Hoot About

Over 100 giant owls will be taking up perch across
Birmingham for 10 weeks next summer as part of a fundraising initiative.
The Big Hoot, launched last Wednesday night at the Ikon
Gallery, will see more than 100 individually-designed 165cm-tall owl statues
appear across the city – local artists will then customise the owls.
The initiative is being organised by public art specialists
Wild in Art, in conjunction with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and funded by
a host of corporate sponsors from across the West Midlands.

Since 2008, Wild in Art has become the UK’s leading producer
of mass participation public art events. They have launched similar exhibitions
across the globe, including the highly successful Gromit Unleashed initiative –
where sculptures representing Gromit of “Wallace and Gromit” appeared on the
streets of Bristol throughout 2013.

OWB have been involved with the creative element of the project
since its inception. Wild in Art were looking for inspiration for the
Birmingham character that could be considered both representative of the region
and educational too.
“We loved the fact that the bird represented flight and
migration – perfectly aligned with our diverse culture in Birmingham” stated
OWB Director Shari Bryan, so from then on there was only one choice.
In 2008 a BBC News article reported that the world’s largest
owl – the Eagle Owl – had taken up residence in Birmingham. Since then, a
number of sightings of European Eagle Owls in and around the Birmingham area
have been reported.
Once the owl had been chosen OWB worked alongside Wild in
Art to create the perfect identity for the initiative. And thus, The Big Hoot
was born.
Speaking at the launch event, 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, added:
“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 Big Hoot has already attracted national media coverage with the BBC News website reporting on its launch: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-29722659

OWB have developed The Big Hoot’s website – www.thebighoot.co.uk – and created sponsorship packs for people who want to get
involved with this initiative. An online pack can be found here: http://thebighoot.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-Big-Hoot-Sponsor-Pack-23-October-2014.pdf

You can follow The
Big Hoot on Twitter
@thebighoot2015, like The Big Hoot on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thebighoot2015 and follow The Big Hoot’s Instagram activity http://instagram.com/bighoot2015