72 Swindogs and Pups were admired by around 3,500 visitors during The Big Dog Art Trail’s Farewell Weekend, ahead of the Grand Auction on 19th September.

Around 3,500 visitors came through the doors of Swindon’s STEAM Museum at the weekend to say a final farewell to 72 beautiful, hand-painted sculptures known as Swindogs and Swinpups!

These balloon-shaped dog sculptures were displayed across Swindon over the summer as part of The Big Dog Art Trail, a fundraiser for the Wiltshire and Dorset based children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House, in partnership with Wild In Art.

Family admiring Tails of Swindon, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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This was the first time that all of the Swindogs and Swinpups had gathered together as a pack before the larger dogs go under the hammer at The Big Dog Art Trail’s Grand Auction, also at the STEAM Museum, on Tuesday 19th September at 6.30pm.

Families, dog lovers and art enthusiasts came together to see the sculptures in all their glory. Artists spoke to the crowds about their designs and held workshops for children to enjoy. Swindog souvenirs were also on sale, with two lucky visitors winning teeny tiny Swinpup sculptures made by renowned artist, Robert Mach, in the style of his Tunnock’s tea cake inspired Swindog called Running with Dogs!

With a dazzling array of colourful designs, there was a prize pup for everyone. Some of the trail’s Top Dog’s, as voted by the public, include Papillon, Penny For Your Thoughts and Adventure Hound, with Penny For Your Thoughts and Pup Art receiving the highest online bids to date. 

Julia's House Team, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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Penny For Your Thoughts, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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Artist Mike Pringle with Gone Wild, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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Visitors, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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Family admiring Steam Pup, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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Papillon, credit Simon Ward Photography.jpg
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Bids for the Swindogs can be made online now via The Big Dog Art Trail website. Members of the public are also encouraged to come along to the Grand Auction.  Attendees can register in advance or on the day. All of the money raised will go to the Wiltshire and Dorset based children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

Find out more about The Big Dog Art Trail Auction here.


Notes to Editors:

About The Big Dog Art Trail

30 larger than life balloon dog sculptures – the Swindogs – and 42 small sculptures – the Swinpups - were unleashed across Swindon during the summer of 2023. The uniquely decorated sculptures created the UK’s first-ever balloon dog art trail and are helping to raise essential funds for the local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

The Big Dog Art Trail created a free walking trail through some of Swindon’s most well-loved and historic parks, landmarks and streets and shone a light on art and culture in the heart of the town. As well as encouraging local residents to re-discover the town they love, the paw-some public art spectacle attracted thousands of visitors from outside the town, providing a welcome boost for local businesses.

The Big Dog Art Trail ran from July 15 to September 3, 2023, and ended with a grand farewell finale where all of the Swindog and Swinpup sculptures were brought together under one roof. The giant one-of-a-kind creations will then head off to their forever homes after being adopted at a special auction on 19th September to raise money for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

More than 23,000 people took part in the trail, with almost 210,000 Swindogs and Swinpups collected and collectively, visitors walked more than 13,500 miles.

The Big Dog Art Trail was brought to Swindon by Julia’s House and global public art producer Wild in Art, who has previously hosted trails in cities across the UK and worldwide, including the recent elephant parade in Worcester and Cows in Cambridge.


19 September 2023, STEAM Museum

Auction event. Swindogs auctioned to raise vital funds for Julia’s House

bigdogarttrail.co.uk | @bigdogarttrail | #bigdogarttrail


About Julia’s House

Julia’s House is a local charity dedicated to supporting the families of children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions in the heart of the community in Wiltshire and Dorset. Many of these children require round-the-clock care, which has a huge impact on family life.

Julia’s House provides bespoke care for every family it supports, with each family receiving hundreds of hours of free care each year. Parents can choose when, where and how they receive their care – at home, in the community or at one of the charity’s two hospices in Devizes and Corfe Mullen – making it a truly flexible service. Julia’s House is there for the whole family, not just the seriously ill child, providing emotional support and social opportunities for parents, grandparents and siblings to help break the cycle of anxiety and isolation that can lead a family to breaking point.

This regular clinical care, respite and emotional support, plus emergency end-of-life care and bereavement support is provided completely free to families, thanks to the generosity of the local community.  Julia’s House relies on public donations, fundraising and legacies for around 92% of the money needed to keep running its vital service in Wiltshire and Dorset.

Julia’s House children’s hospice cares for nearly 200 families across the two counties. Currently nearly 80% of the children supported by Julia’s House need two care team members present during their community sessions due to the complexity of their condition. And as more life-limited children are living for longer and with increasingly more complex care needs, demand for the specialist care that Julia’s House provides is expected to rise in the coming years.

The service that Julia’s House provides has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission and the charity is a Sunday Times Top 100 Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For.

Julia’s House is almost entirely reliant on donations to provide its outstanding care for the growing number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across Wiltshire. The charity recently launched its Together We Care Appeal to raise the £1.5m needed each year to continue providing essential respite breaks and support to local families.

juliashouse.org | @juliashousechildrenshospice | #juliaschildrenshospice

About Wild in Art

Wild in Art is the leading producer of spectacular public art events that entertain, enrich, inform and leave a lasting legacy. It brings together businesses and creative sectors with schools and local communities through the creation of uniquely painted sculptures.

Since 2008 Wild in Art has animated cities across the world including Manchester, Sydney, Auckland, Cape Town and São Paulo, and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Historic Royal Palaces and Penguin Random House.

Wild in Art events have:

Enabled over £23.6m to be raised for charitable causes
Injected £4.2m into local creative communities
Engaged over 1 million young people in learning programmes
Helped millions of people of all ages to experience art in non-traditional settings
The Wild in Art apps are available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

wildinart.co.uk | @wildinart | #wildinart

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