Big Dog Art Trail team give round of 'a-paws' to local artists

By Jessica Durston - 8 December 2022

Arts and CultureAttractionsCommunity

Local, national, professional and amateur artists have submitted nearly 200 designs to The Big Dog Art Trail, hoping to be selected to bring one of the balloon dog sculptures to life.

Image credit - Simon Ward Photography

The Big Dog Art Trail team say submissions have now been shortlisted to just 60 designs at a special event held this month at the Julia’s House children’s hospice building in Devizes.

In January 2023, all of the businesses and organisations who are sponsoring a balloon dog sculpture will then get to choose their favourite artwork to adorn their Swindog from the shortlist. The final 30 designs will create a public art trail across Swindon’s streets, open places, and landmarks next summer.

Creating the UK’s first-ever balloon dog art trail, The Big Dog Art Trail is being brought to Swindon by Wiltshire’s children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House and the global art trail producer, Wild in Art.

On the design selection panel were members of the Julia’s House team, including some of their nurses and carers, plus professional artists and art expert Annie Laughrin, from Wild in Art. The team say the first painted Swindog and the Swinpups also joined in with the fun.

Annie Laughrin, Art and Learning Manager Wild in Art, said: "It was a pleasure to join the team at Julia's House to support and share my experience in the open call shortlisting. Local and national artists have been inspired to come up with fun, colourful and captivating design ideas to transform our fabulous balloon dog sculpture.

"Swindon’s definitely got talent! There were some amazing designs from the town’s artists.  There were a diverse range of designs submitted, with different mediums used.”

She added: “There were some super tough decisions to make, but we can't wait to see which ones catch the eyes of the sponsors and ultimately feature as part of the trail."

Lisa Bradbury, Lead Nurse for Wiltshire at Julia’s House, said: “Seeing all the designs spread out together was really exciting because it gave us a glimpse of just how incredible next year’s event is going to be. The Swindog designs were all brilliant in their own unique way.

"The artists had obviously invested a lot of time and thought into their creations. Some were emotive and beautifully intricate, while others were bold and bright and very funny. It was such an enjoyable event and it was lovely to host it at our hospice in Devizes.”

The Big Dog Art Trail team say they will be in touch with all the artists who submitted a design soon to let them know if they have been shortlisted.

The Big Dog Art Trail will be coming to Swindon from 15 July - 3 September, 2023.

The event will end with a grand farewell weekend, where all of the Swindog sculptures will be brought together under one roof.

The giant one-of-a-kind creations will then head off to their forever homes after being adopted at an auction event to raise money for the local children’s hospice charity, Julia’s House.

To keep up with the Big Dog Art Trail news, those interested can visit

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