WORCESTER welcomed 57 new colourful residents for the summer after the wraps came off a hotly-anticipated public art trail featuring a rainbow of giant giraffe sculptures.
The four-legged pieces of art are dotted around the city as part of the Worcester Stands Tall trail which kicked off on Monday and will finish on Sunday, September 16.
It is an event by Wild in Art – the company behind trails such as The Big Sleuth in Birmingham – and is brought to the city by St Richard’s Hospice.
Mayor of Worcester Coun Jabba Riaz cut the ribbon on Snowdrop, the first of the 57 individually designed and painted giraffes and calves on the six-mile long trail.
The trail is raising funds for the hospice’s £5.3million Build 2020 Appeal to build a bigger hospice, enabling more patients and families to be cared for in Worcestershire.
John Bawden, chairman of governors at St Richard’s, said: “We are tremendously excited to bring these fantastic giraffes to our city and can’t wait to see everyone enjoying the trail this summer!
“We hope our event will not only inspire civic pride – but also give people a great excuse to get out and get active, exploring the city while helping raise money for our Build 2020 Appeal.”
Of the 57 sculptures, 30 are 8ft tall and have been decorated by artists for display through the city in a number of well-loved places. Each large sculpture has been sponsored by organisations from across the county.
There are 26 smaller calf sculptures which have been decorated by schools and community groups and are on show in the city’s Crowngate Shopping Centre.
And one final rose gold giraffe calf is proudly displayed by the main entrance to Worcester Cathedral.
Charlie Langhorne, a director of Wild in Art, said: “Worcester Stands Tall celebrates the city’s people and places, and together with St Richard’s Hospice we’re proud to have helped bring businesses, artists, schools and communities together through the power of creativity.
“Have lots of fun getting out and about on the colourful art trail, discovering the spectacular giraffes, and sharing the magical stories the artwork inspires!”
Trail maps are available from points around the city, including Worcester Tourist Information Centre, Worcester Cathedral, Crowngate Shopping Centre and the Worcester Stands Tall pop-up shop – also located in Crowngate Shopping Centre.
Visitors to the city are invited to download the Worcester Stands Tall app to track their progress as they walk the route, discovering giraffes and facts about the city along the way.
Observer editor Rob George was among the first to tackle the trail and enjoy the technicolour tower of glorious giraffe sculptures adoring the city.
I MUST have driven into Worcester thousands of times and while it’s always a delight, despite the traffic, it was nothing compared to the celebration of colour which greeted me on Monday from these delightful additions to the city.
After passing ‘Giraffa Chameleondalis’ (number 22 on the list) in my car on Croft Street, I parked up and crossed the road to visit Stampede (number 24) who is casually chilling out by the river.
This was before the launch, proving these giraffes aren’t exactly hard to spot!
Each design has been lovingly crafted by very talented artists and when you are on the trail do spend time admiring the sheer effort which has gone in because some of the intimate detail involved is quite breathtaking.
It’s such a brilliant idea. Yes, it copies Birmingham’s Big Sleuth and Big Hoot but there’s something about the use of giraffes which will make this trail stand out from the rest.
You expect them to be big and intrusive in the locations they have settled in but bizarrely they do blend in rather delightfully with their locations, especially on Worcester’s thriving High Street which has proved a particular attraction to these creatures.
The app is very good and provides a handy way of keeping track of who you have discovered and who is yet to come but also provides an extra dimension with information about where you are in Worcester. I can’t help but think this will be a very popular tourist trap this summer.
Whether you are a kid, adult or a big kid like me, the trail is very addictive. I bailed out after about 20 mins to get back to the office but took in at least a dozen of these beautiful works of art and already have my favourite, Bones (number 10) on the High Street. You’re bound to have one by the end of the tour, they are so engrossing
A special mention must go to twin calves Judy and Jane at the entrance to the Crowngate off the Deansway, designed by the youngsters at Fort Royal School.
I hope this trail pulls in visitors, raises cash for such a wonderful cause but even more importantly encourages families from Worcester and further afield to come into the city and enjoy the sculptures together.
Because whether you are seven or 70, this is a must see attraction this summer.
I can’t wait to discover more!
Visit www.facebook.com/WorcesterObserver for a short video of some of the giraffes dotted around the city.