8 Jul 2015

What a Hoot! Owls Flock to BMT Attractions for the Big Hoot Art Exhibition

A parliament of owls will be flocking to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery for the launch of this year’s The Little Hoot.

Over 114 schools and 25,000 students have been involved with the fundraiser, which aims to raise thousands of pounds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Pupils from each school have spent nine months decorating their 3ft-tall fibreglass owlet sculptures ready to go on display as part of the city-wide public art exhibition.

The ‘Little Hoot’ trail of owlets will launch on July 8 at BMAG, where 26 of the sculptures will be showcased. The display, in gallery 16, will be the biggest in the city.

Further The Little Hoot owlets and the Big Hoot owls will take up residence at a number of Birmingham Museum Trust attractions including BMAG’s Edwardian Tea Room, Aston Hall, Sarehole Mill, Blakesley Hall and Soho House as part of the owlet exhibition trail.

The trail of owlets will be unveiled before a further 89 life-sized large owl sculptures go on display at public spaces across the city on July 20.

The 5ft 5 inch sculptures have been decorated by artists, creative community groups – and even world-famous Brummie rocker Ozzy Osbourne – and have been sponsored by local businesses. They will remain perched across the city for 10 weeks before being auctioned off to raise funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The smaller owlets will be returned to the schools that made them as a permanent memento of their contribution to The Big Hoot.

Andrew Fowles, Learning Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust, said:

“The Big Hoot is a fantastic creative project that gives many organisations, schools and local communities the opportunity to showcase their combined talents to the people of Birmingham and beyond.

“The Little Hoot school project has given us the opportunity to grow Arts Award programmes within the city. We have been able to support learners to complete their Arts Award qualifications, whilst adding a real special touch to their experience by displaying their fabulous work to thousands of people in a series of world-class galleries and heritage sites.

“We are committed to supporting Arts Awards for young people and look forward to getting involved with other projects like the big Hoot so we can help to inspire creative talents of the future with our world-famous collections and unique display spaces.”

Birmingham Children’s Hospital has teamed up with Wild in Art to stage The Big Hoot, which is the biggest mass-participation public art event to have descended on the city.

Residents and visitors will be invited to follow the sculpture trail through Birmingham, supported by downloadable maps and apps, to discover parts of the city they may never have seen before.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Manager, Gurminder Kenth, said: “We are delighted to be so heavily involved with The Big Hoot.

“BMAG will become home to the biggest collection of owlet sculptures in the city whilst some of the stunning life-sized sculptures will take up residence at other BMT attractions.

“As well as being genuinely fantastic examples of art, The Big Hoot will go towards helping the ground-breaking work carried out at the hospital.

“On top of that it will inspire pride in the city and offer families the chance to explore the wonderful things it has to offer.”

Elinor Eustace, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital said:

“As a children’s hospital, we are passionate about the development of young people and The Big Hoot schools programme has been a great way to bring the excitement of the project into the curriculum. We have also seen lots of schools fundraise for our hospital at the same time and for that we are truly grateful.”

The project is the latest high profile public art project from Wild in Art, which hosted a similar event in Bristol featuring various giant statues depicting Gromit from Wallace & Gromit.

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  1. Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent charity that manages the city’s museum collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council. It uses the collection of around 800,000 objects to provide a wide range of arts, cultural and historical experiences, events and activities that deliver accessible learning, creativity and enjoyment for citizens and visitors to the city. Most areas of the collection are designated as being of national importance, including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. Attracting over 1 million visits a year, the Trust’s venues include Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle.
  2. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
  3. The Big Hoot is the latest mass participation public arts event from Wild in Art, who famously attracted worldwide headlines with a similar event in Bristol, the ‘Gromit Unleashed’ project in 2013. The project saw 42% of trail tourists visiting from outside the city, with £3.8 million raised for Bristol Children’s Hospital.  Wild in Art is one of the leading creative producers of spectacular, mass-appeal public art events. From parades of elephants in Melbourne and crashes of rhinos in Sydney, to BookBenches in London and Commonwealth Games Clyde mascots in Glasgow, Wild in Art events have animated cities and enthralled people the world over, raising over £6m for charity partners along the way. 
  4. Wild in Art also provide unique art education resources which engage and inspire young people and enhance learning across the curriculum. Wild in Art 2015 events include: GoGoDragons (Norwich, UK), The Big Hoot (Birmingham, UK), The Baron’s Charter (Salisbury and Lincoln, UK).