100 individually decorated large and smaller owl sculptures are to land in and around the streets of Bath this summer for a colourful three-month public art event to celebrate Bath’s Roman heritage and raise funds for local charities.
Minerva’s Owls of Bath 2018 will be the latest public art sculpture trail from the team that brought the city the enormously popular Lions of Bath in 2010 and King Bladud’s Pigs in 2008 – one of the first major sculpture trails of its kind in the UK.
The project takes its inspiration from the Roman Goddess Minerva, to whom the Roman Baths Temple was dedicated in the 1st century AD, and whose animal symbol was the owl of wisdom. The colourful public art sculpture trail will also mark the 10th anniversary of the Pigs.
The large owls, which are 1.1m tall and will perch on 40cm high plinths, will be sponsored by a wide range of businesses and organisations, and will be transformed into unique works of art by talented artists, designers and celebrities. Smaller 75cm ‘Owlets’ will also be available exclusively for schools, community groups and charities to sponsor and decorate, and will belong to them after the event.
The Owls and Owlets will take up their perches across Bath and the surrounding region from the end of June 2018. In September, after nearly three months of public display, the Owls and Owlets will be gathered together in one giant flock, or ‘parliament’ as a group of owls is known, for the ‘Hoot Farewell’ auction preview weekend in early October.
All the large Owls will be auctioned for charity in late October and the Owlets will fly back to the schools and community groups that decorated them as a lasting legacy of the event. 100% of the event profits will be donated to four local charities – 70% to the Royal United Hospital’s new Cancer Centre and 30% to Bath Young Carers, the Roman Baths Archway Project and the UK Little Owl Project, which is based in Bath.
Businesses and organisations interested in sponsoring an Owl are asked to get in touch with the organisers as soon as possible as sculpture numbers are limited. ‘Early bird’ sponsorship offers are available until 5th March 2018. Smaller Owlets are available exclusively for schools, charities and community groups. Sponsors will benefit from extensive publicity, association with a positive fundraising initiative and the opportunity to engage their staff, customers, pupils or members in a high-profile nine-month event.
Local artists are being invited to submit design ideas by 1 March for the chance to be selected as one of the official Owl artists by downloading an artist pack from the website. Owl sponsors can either choose their own artist to decorate their sculpture, select from the portfolio of submitted designs or work with registered Minerva’s Owls artists to create their own individual design. Chosen artists receive 20% of the auction sale price of their Owl as payment for their work, plus a contribution towards the cost of their materials.