Sunderland is set to take the lead for a major regional arts trail.
Inspired by the Raymond Briggs classic The Snowman and The Snowdog, the Great North Snowdogs trail will see sixty giant snowdog sculptures spring up around the North East which it’s hoped will attract thousands of visitors.
A number of Wearside businesses have already signed up to the initiative which will see each dog decorated by a professional artist or celebrity.
Sunderland BID, Healthy High Streets, the Bridges, SAFC, Gentoo, Nexus, Primary Times, Stagecoach, The Galleries and children’s heart charity CHUF are all sponsoring dogs, with 13 large Snowdogs set to be placed in key locations around the city.
They include Park Lane, the Bridges, the National Glass Centre, SAFC, Market Square, Keel Square, Sunniside and at the Minster, with a number of smaller dogs also set to take up residence around Sunderland as part of a mini dog trail.
There will also be two large Snowdogs in Washington and one at the sea front in Sunderland during the six week trail which runs from September 19 to November 29.
Ken Dunbar, chief executive of Sunderland BID, said: “This is such an important event for the region and it’s a great opportunity for the thousands of anticipated visitors to see Sunderland and the many positive changes that are taking place here.
“It will provide a huge boost for the local economy and we hope that all the city businesses will get fully behind the trail and make the most of the increased footfall.”
Michelle Meldrum, executive director (Operations) at Gentoo, said: “Gentoo is thrilled to part of the Great North Snowdogs. Sunderland is a vibrant city, full of history and culture and it is great to be working alongside other local businesses to encourage people to come and visit.
“It is vitally important that our current and future generations engage in arts and culture. The smaller Snowdogs are a great way for us to work with the local community and get young people involved in using creativity as a learning tool.
“This is all in aid of an excellent cause and I would encourage families, members of the community and our customers to visit the trail when it’s launched later this year.”
Sam Czwordon-Wright, marketing manager at the Bridges, added: “The Great North Snowdogs Trail is going to be absolutely incredible for the North East and it’s great to see that many Sunderland businesses have sponsored dogs too.
“The designs on the Sunderland dogs are all fantastic and are sure to draw plenty of attention.”
The Great North Snowdogs will be launching a trail map and a specially designed app which will highlight the trail across the region, along the route covered by the Tyne and Wear Metro system and other public transport.
The initiative has been organised by Newcastle-based St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice, which cares for young people from across the region, in conjunction with creative producers, Wild In Art.