On Tuesday, representatives from around 50 Ipswich companies gathered at John Grose Ford’s showroom for the next major milestone in St Elizabeth Hospice’s Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk campaign – the Matchmaker Evening.
At this exclusive evening, campaign partners and sponsors were finally able choose the design for their Elmer sculpture, browsing the broad range of artists’ designs before being asked to select their top three.
It is these selected designs which will go on to become the 50 large Elmer sculptures that will be displayed across the town centre and open spaces of Ipswich from June to September 2019.
The call for designs for Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk closed at the end of October with more than 200 submissions received from well-known and aspiring artists. Following a tough session for the expert shortlisting panel, partners and sponsors were last night presented with a selection of approximately 90 designs to make their choice from.
Norman Lloyd, Campaign Manager for the parade said: “This event is such an important milestone for the campaign, as it is the point which kick starts so much more activity in the run up to the trail going live next June. It is a great fun evening, as although the team at the hospice have seen the designs before, this is the first time that any of the partners and sponsors have seen of them, and believe me narrowing it down to just three favourites is no easy task!”
The 50 individually hand painted designs chosen by the sponsors will become the sculptures that will ultimately be auctioned to raise much needed funds for St Elizabeth Hospice.
Charlie Langhorne, Director at public art event specialists, Wild in Art, said: “This design selection is absolutely crucial for the success of campaigns such as Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk, as it is at this point that the sculptures start to become desirable works of art.”
By the end of the day on Thursday 6 December, partners and sponsors of the campaign will know the design of their sculpture, as well as the name of the artist that they will be working with in the run up to next year’s trail.
Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk will once again be run in conjunction with Wild in Art, as well as children’s publisher Andersen Press, publisher of Elmer since 1989. It follows the success of the hospice’s previous art trail, ‘Pigs Gone Wild’ in 2016, which attracted around 250,000 visitors to Ipswich and boosted the local economy by an estimated £1 million, while raising £200,000 for the hospice – enough to fund one week’s care.
Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since the first book was published by Andersen Press. A modern classic, this picture book is known to millions, and the entire Elmer series has sold over 10 million copies around the world. The subtle inclusive message is that it is ‘OK to be different’.