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A tall story

— December 2012

Associated media

Its Pygmalion all over again for a giraffe at Colchester Zoo

Call to all artists! Colchester Zoo launches a unique art event to celebrate its 50th birthday. Artist submissions for the Stand Tall for Giraffes are now being accepted, until 14 December.

For 12 weeks in the summer of 2013, Colchester’s streets, parks and open spaces will be taken over by some unusual visitors – 2.5 metre high giraffe sculptures. The giraffe sculptures will engage local professional artists, community groups and schools, who will design and paint them, and celebrate the creativity of Colchester. The event will culminate in an auction of the sculptures to raise funds for global conservation projects through the zoo’s charity Action for the Wild, including the charity’s UmPhafa Reserve in South Africa.

The project is being developed in partnership with Wild in Art, an experienced arts, events and education company that has successfully staged similar events in the UK, Europe and Africa. The process of recruiting the artists to decorate the giraffes began on 1 November and Colchester Zoo is encouraging the submission of all art forms, from traditional to new media, from sound to video installations, to poetry and photography. Whatever the media, participation is invited from enthusiastic amateurs and professional artists, art groups, young people, set designers and photographers.

Following the submission process, the portfolio of designs will be reviewed and chosen artists will be commissioned to complete their work in spring 2013. Upon completion, each artist will be paid an honorarium of £800.

The event, a 12-week multi location trail, will take place from June until the August bank holiday, followed by a final farewell tour at Colchester Zoo in September 2013. The event is expected to attract thousands of visitors, increasing footfall in the town’s commercial centre, as well as encouraging residents to become ‘tourists in their own town’.

After the event, in late September 2013, the giraffes will be auctioned for Colchester Zoo's charity Action for the Wild. Anthony Tropeano, Zoological Director at Colchester Zoo says:

We are excited that the process for selecting the artists to decorate our giraffes is about to get underway. The people of Colchester and its surroundings have always been very supportive of us here at the Zoo, and I'm sure that they will once again overwhelm us with their creativity and ideas. I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and send us their design suggestions, and we look forward to announcing the successful entrants in spring 2013.

The Stand Tall event is very much partnership led with the ambition of bringing businesses, the creative sector and communities together to celebrate all that is Colchester, as well as highlighting the important issues of conservation in a fun and engaging manner. We hope that through Stand Tall we can introduce new businesses to the arts; inject additional funds into the creative sector; create new commissions and new audiences to enjoy and explore the cultural offer in Essex.

Becky Allen, Event Coordinator at Wild in Art says:

The Stand Tall for Giraffes event for Colchester Zoo is really starting to get under way now, with the call to action for local artists and community groups. Our giraffe sculptures have been created and are a blank canvas ready for inspired decoration, and we are looking forward to poring over the submissions and working with the successful artists as they bring their designs to life. Wild in Art is dedicated to the promotion of art through the creation of grand scale public art events, for the enjoyment of all and Stand Tall is sure to bring much enjoyment to the people of Colchester in summer 2013.

The closing date for artist's submissions is Friday 14 December 2012 and the successful artists will work on decorating their sculptures between February and May, ready for the Stand Tall launch on 2nd June. Entrants should visit to download an entry form and for further information including guidelines, rules and terms and conditions.

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