A minimum of 25 giant individually designed and beautifully decorated Snowdog sculptures will be placed around the borough next year to create a world-class, sculpture trail that will encourage everyone to discover Ashford.

The trail will be on display for 10 weeks from September 2018 to November 2018, building a buzz around Ashford’s iconic locations and public open spaces and creating a festive feel in the lead up to Christmas.

After the 10-week display, each Snowdog sculpture will be auctioned by Pilgrims Hospices to help raise funds for the local charity.

To kick-start this exciting cultural adventure, a special sponsorship launch event took place on Thursday 19th October 2017, at Revelation Ashford. 

The launch, attended by Presenting Partners Ashford Designer Outlet, County Square, Quinn Estates and Hodson Developments, encouraged other businesses, groups, education establishments and individuals to support the project by sponsoring a Snowdog sculpture, inspired by the animated film The Snowman™ and The Snowdog, the hugely popular sequel to Raymond Briggs’ classic The Snowman™.

Local and national artists and celebrities will bring the sculptures to life and give them their own personality by creating a unique design for each dog.

The Snowdogs Discover Ashford 2018 project is delivered in partnership with Wild in Art; creative producers of spectacular, mass-appeal public art events and Penguin Ventures, part of Penguin Random House and owners of The Snowman™ and The Snowdog brand.

We are calling on local organisations, groups and businesses to get involved by becoming a sponsor. Sponsors will not only receive a variety of promotion and marketing, but will also be invited to a special event in spring 2018 where they’ll find the perfect artist to bring their bespoke Snowdog sculpture to life.

The event, which will be cost neutral to the council, will have a positive impact for the borough in terms of raising its profile, bringing in tourism, and raising money for a very worthwhile local charity.

Other places which have held similar events have benefited greatly from providing education and learning opportunities and promoting community engagement and health and wellbeing; the hugely popular Superlambanana’s (Liverpool City of Culture, 2008), Books about Town (London, 2014) and Snowdogs by the Sea (Brighton & Hove, 2016) are some to name a few.

Cllr Mike Bennett, Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “This is an exciting arts project which we hope will engage and excite our residents and visitors. The Snowdog Sculptures will also raise the borough’s profile, create civic pride and attract thousands of visitors to the borough.

“We encourage local businesses, groups and organisations alike to get on board with this fantastic venture and help us raise funds to support Pilgrims Hospices - an excellent local charity.”

Charlie Langhorne, Director of Wild in Art, added: “We are thrilled to be working with Ashford Borough Council and Pilgrims Hospices on this event. Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone while offering new ways for people to explore their local area. We hope businesses in Ashford will recognise the cultural benefits of sponsoring a Snowdog as well as the positives for their own community. It will be a fantastic spectacle and is an excellent way to raise vital funds for the hospices.”

Susan Bolsover, Licensing and Consumer Products Director, Penguin Ventures added: “This will be our third year partnering with Wild In Art and we couldn’t be more excited to be bringing our Snowdogs to a new home in 2018. The creativity and public engagement on these projects is outstanding and we look forward to seeing what residents of Ashford come up with!”

As well as raising funds for the hospices, the Snowdog story also offers a simple way to open conversations with children about bereavement and loss, making memories that can be cherished for years to come.

Cate Russell, Pilgrims Chief Executive, said: “Our work is as much about supporting people with incurable illness to live as it is about caring for them at end of life. The Snowdogs trail will be a wonderful celebration of Ashford life, so we are really pleased to be involved.

“We know that so many local families face these sensitive issues and things can feel especially poignant at Christmas, so the project will also be a chance to work with local schools and community groups to explore these topics and highlight the support that’s available for families.”

Throughout 2018, Penguin Ventures will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Raymond Briggs’ original picture book, The Snowman™, through a series of exciting announcements and by launching commemorative products and brand new live events. 

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