A stampede of giant colourful elephants could descend on Sheffield next summer in a huge art project.
The Children’s Hospital Charity hopes to bring more than 40 bespoke painted elephants to the city centre next summer as part of The Herd 2016.
The charity hopes to bring together artists, businesses, groups and communities in one of the biggest art events Sheffield has ever seen and encourage more visitors to the city centre.
Rebecca Staden, fundraising manager at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said the event could boost the economy, while raising much-needed funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
She said: “It will bring together schools, companies and businesses from all sectors to create inspiring partnerships and reinforce Sheffield’s status as a vibrant and culturally exciting city.
“The Herd will unite communities, bring thousands of people into the city centre and drive business to the local economy.
“Other similar projects in cities across the country have resulted in a huge increase in footfall on the High Street, with economies boosted as a result.
“The Herd will do just that, while making a lasting contribution to the future of Sheffield Children’s Hospital by raising considerable funds.”
Elephants have been chosen for the trail to celebrate Sheffield’s industrial heritage – 2016 will mark 100 years since Lizzie the elephant was used in the steel industry to help with the war effort.
Artists will be invited to submit their designs for the elephants which will then be created and placed in locations around the city from July to September 2016.
The sculptures will then be auctioned off in October 2016 to raise money for The Children’s Hospital Charity.
Sponsors are being sought for the project, which is being presented in partnership with Wild in Art, an organisation that has brought public art to towns and cities across the country.
David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We are appealing for sponsors to come forward and get involved with this project.
“We want to work with companies to help bring this incredible event to the city and showcase the incredible businesses and the creative talent that reside here.”
The city centre Business Improvement District – a £5 million scheme to improve the area – is supporting the project.
James Prince, managing director of John Lewis and BID interim board chairman, said: “This type of initiative has been run in other cities such as London, Bristol, Norwich and Manchester and has had impressive results. Norwich encouraged visitors to stay over 70 per cent longer in the city and in Bristol 90 per cent of people visited parts they have not been to before, thereby having a direct influence on spend and activity.
“Sheffield has not done this before so we believe it will have an impact on vibrancy and a positive effect on the city centre economy.
“We look forward to working with the team at The Children’s Hospital Charity to progress our involvement.”
n To find out more about how businesses can get involved in The Herd contact Rebecca Staden on 0114 271 7203 or by emailing Rebecca@herdofsheffield.com