The Big Sleuth’s cubs kick-start Birmingham’s art trail

Today, Wednesday 28 June, the creative work of over 50,000 school children from over 130 schools from across the West Midlands was celebrated at the launch of The Big Sleuth Learning Programme, The Little Bears Detective Club – Britain’s biggest school public art event of 2017.

The launch took place at Millennium Point with children from local schools excited to bring the final little bear cubs to mark the start of the Learning Programme trail.

137 bear cubs that have been lovingly designed, created and nurtured by school children are now being placed inside museums, shopping centres and libraries marking the start of the schools programme trail, ahead of the launch of The Big Sleuth, a free, family-friendly, public art trail of 100 bears sculptures shortly to leave their paw prints across Birmingham and the surrounding areas, from Monday 10 July onwards.

The bear cubs crafted by children of all ages, from nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, has seen pupils, teachers and school communities showcase their artist talents. For the past nine months, they have been experimenting with pattern, texture and colour, bringing their bear to life while at the same time fundraising for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

The technicolour cubs exhibited at more than 20 venues in Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Sutton Coldfield and West Bromwich can be spotted for everybody to enjoy until 17 September 2017. Sites include parks, museums and shopping centres, with a cluster of 22 cub sculptures on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and a sleuth of 18 at Millennium Point.

Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art, said: “Schools have embarked on some fantastic activities as part of their Big Sleuth adventure, from design competitions, and bear-illiant dressing up days, to investigating endangered species, writing about rainforests, and learning about South Asian art and culture.

“The variety of designs and inspirations has surpassed our wildest imaginations and together with Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, we are extremely proud to showcase the creativity of this region’s young people once again. Thank you to everybody that has taken part and enjoy Bear-mingham’s bears this summer!”

The event’s Educational Sponsor, The Schools of King Edward VI, launched its own Little Bears Detective Club competition for primary schools as part of its ‘Opening Doors’ campaign.

Denis Ramplin, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, said: “The Big Sleuth has been an inspiration for so many children across the region and we are delighted to have been involved. The children’s creations are fantastic and we look forward to seeing them showcased around the city.”

Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital, added: “The Big Sleuth Learning Programme has given children and young people the opportunity to get excited about arts and crafts as well as engaging them in important topics of conversation, like the environment, geography, literacy and raising money to help others.

“For us at the hospital, it is the health and wellbeing opportunity that particularly excites us, as we are totally committed to helping improve children and young people’s life chances.

“The fact that the young people could combine fun and creativity in the classroom and will now go on to walk the trail over the summer with their friends and family was too grrr-eat an opportunity for us to miss!”

At the end of the 10-week trail the cub sculptures will be returned to the schools that have created them as a lasting legacy of their contribution to The Big Sleuth.

To view The Big Sleuth Learning Programme trail map, visit:


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