North East artists are urged not to be sheepish – and to submit their designs for a major new public art project. For ten weeks, from 19 July to Friday 27 September 2023, streets, parks and public areas throughout Tyneside will play host to Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne; a free public art trail in aid of Newcastle-based St Oswald’s Hospice.
Fifty large fibreglass sculptures of Wallace and Gromit’s woolly sidekick Shaun the Sheep will make up the trail – and the search is on to find emerging and professional artists from across the region to decorate them.
The trail is the sequel to Great North Snowdogs and Elmer’s Great North Parade; free public art trails, staged by St Oswald’s Hospice, to raise much needed funds for children with incurable conditions.
And artists whose work is chosen will receive a fee of £850 and the chance to showcase their work to an estimated audience of 800,000 visitors to the trail.
Designs have already been submitted by artists from outside the area, but project curator Victoria Maddison said:
“We are particularly interested in hearing from local artists, living and working in the North East. We are looking for a range of styles and themes and hoping to see designs never seen before that will inspire, engage and delight people of all ages.”
How to submit
Submissions must be made online where there is a pack of information for artists to download, which includes lots of tips and hints to inspire, plus the Shaun the Sheep design templates.
Once entries have closed, on 6 January 2023, Victoria and her fellow art curator James Lowther will create a shortlist of designs which will be put to the trail’s sponsors in spring 2023, at a special matching event, where they will choose their favourite.
Successful artists will then be commissioned to paint their sculptures ahead of the trail opening in July 2023.
After the trail, the artists who took part will be invited to see their work go under the hammer at an auction to raise funds for the Gosforth-based hospice, which provides specialist care for North East adults, young people and children with incurable conditions and support for their families and loved ones.
Along with the 50 large sculptures the trail will feature more than 100 smaller Shauns, designed and decorated by North East schools, youth groups and organisations.
And St Oswald’s Hospice Chief Executive Steph Edusei said she hopes Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne will be just as successful as the previous trails. She said:
“We’ve all gone through – and are still facing – difficult times, but the North East has never wavered in its support for the hospice. Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne is our way of saying thank you to all who’ve supported us and bringing some summer fun back to our region.”
Designs are to be submitted online at www.shaunthesheeponthetyne.co.uk/artists and the closing date for entries is Friday 6 January 2023.