LAST summer we saw the city of Wells transformed by the introduction of 60 swan sculptures.
The contemporary sculpture trail of 60 5ft swans were hard to miss, raising funds for local charities when they were auctioned off.
And a select few of the flock are still displayed in the city today.
However, this is not the first time that British cities have played host to such daring projects.
Walking around Bristol (with one runaway Gromit at Cheddar Caves & Gorge) may leave one a little bemused this summer, as 80 Gromits have been unleashed onto the city’s streets and surrounding areas.
Led by the renowned Aardman Animations, famous faces such as Harry Hill and Joanna Lumley, as well as local artists, have decorated the familiar dog in aid of the Bristol Children’s Hospital.
The 5ft fibreglass sculptures will be on display until September, when they will be auctioned off.
The Cow Parade in London was staged in 2002, where a herd of 150 cows sculpted by a Pascal Knapp from Switzerland were displayed all around London, 60 of which raised £358,800 for the charity ‘ChildLine’.
The cattle were painted and decorated in a multitude of styles by artists, celebrities and members of the public, and were displayed in iconic locations such as Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Canary Wharf and London tube stations.
In July 2008 more than 100 decorated fibreglass animals were let loose on the streets of Bath, celebrating both the city’s artists and origins.
Artists taking part in the project ranged from schoolchildren to establish artists, such as internationally renowned textile artist, Carole Waller.
The vibrant project was short lived lasting only a few months through the summer of 2008, yet when the colourful carnage was over just 33 of the pigs fetched £200,000 at auction.
The Lions of Bath
Two years following the pigs, a giant pride of no less than 100 life-sized sculptures of lions were placed around the city of Bath from May-September 2010.
These sculptures were individually designed and decorated by a range of artists, no one the same as another.
Eventually, the lions were each auctioned off, raising more than £65,000 for local charities including the charity supporting young carers aged 5-18, Off the Record.
In July 2011, following the success of The Bath Pigs, Bristol Zoo sponsored a similar project which involved placing 61 painted gorillas around the city for just 10 weeks.
Bristol Zoo has been an avid supporter of Ape Action Africa since the mid 90s and as 2011 marked the zoo’s 175th anniversary, what better way to celebrate? The 61 gorillas were sold at auction raising a grand total of £427,300.
Summer 2010 saw a colourful parade of 260 elephants pop up across London. Tourists delighted in designs ranging from psychedelic rainbows to a patriotic Union flag elephant, and the herd even featured a print by Somerset designer Alice Temperley.
The project was organised by Elephant Family, a charity working to save Asian Elephants from extinction in the wild.
After raising an amazing £4.1 million in London, the Elephants have gone on tour across the world; they are currently on display in Luxembourg, making it the world’s largest open air exhibition.
London Easter Eggs
In 2012, the charity Action For Children organised a massive Easter Egg Hunt across London, involving over 200 fibreglass Easter eggs.
Artists such as Sir Peter Blake and Vivienne Westwood designed the eggs, which were hidden across the capital.
Tourists were encouraged to search high and low for the statues as part of the worlds biggest Easter egg hunt. Favourites included a ‘Where’s Wally?’ egg and a postbox design.
The UK is not alone in parades of these kinds, for example cow parades have taken place in the past over dozens of cities across the world, originating in Zurich, Switzerland, but have also taken place in Bordeaux, Johannesburg, New York, Tokyo, Budapest, Arnhem in Holland, Brussels, Athens, Dublin and many more.
As for 2013,there is a planned cow parade in Hong Kong.