On Monday 16th September, Elephant Parade’s instantly recognisable elephant statues will go on display at intu Metrocentre for four weeks, as one of the 13 tour locations across intu shopping centres.
Intu is also opening up the once in a lifetime opportunity for six local school children to design an elephant to join the tour.
Elephant Parade (www.elephantparade.com) brings artists, celebrities and businesses together to create vibrant public art creations on elephant statues to raise awareness of, and funds for, The Asian Elephant Foundation, a charity which supports elephant conservation projects.
Previous Elephant Parades have trail-blazed cities around the world – including Amsterdam, London, Singapore, Milan and Copenhagen – have raised millions for elephant conservation and drawn contributions from top public figures, including Ricky Gervais, Leona Lewis, Tommy Hilfiger, Jack Vettriano, and Joss Stone.
Local school children from Prudhoe High School, Jarrow School, Excelsior Academy, Churchill Community High School and Thomas Hepburn High School and children’s charity Pathways 4 All have all designed elephants to sit alongside the national tour and one student from each school has been selected to paint a smaller scale elephant to sit on the malls at intu Metrocentre during the month long exhibition.
Gavin Prior, General Manager at intu Metrocentre said “This is first for the Centre to be part of a national art exhibition and we’re very excited about hosting it. The life-size and smaller elephants around every corner will bring a different aspect to the malls and hopefully surprise shoppers when they visit the Centre. I have seen some of the designs already and they’ve been decorated by exceptionally talented artists”.
What’s coming: taking Elephant Parade to a new level
Having admired the way Elephant Parade has raised awareness of a serious issue through fun and vibrant expos, intu wanted to bring Elephant Parade back to the UK but give it a far bigger platform. With over 30 million people visiting its shopping centres every year, intu wanted to use its size and scale to help spread Elephant Parade’s message to over half of the UK’s population.
· Digital: For the first time, the Elephant Parade will be supported by a digital tour, giving everyone a chance to participate rather than simply observe. In addition to the 100-strong herd, thousands of design images from people of all ages and walks of life will be broadcast in the shopping centres, as intu draws on the free WiFi which is currently being installed throughout its centres.
· Schools: Another first, intu is sponsoring a conservation education programme that will be run for schools, which will result in dozens of school elephants joining the tour, the first time school children will create elephants to join the actual Elephant Parade. Six elephants will be commissioned in the North East as local schools are invited to submit design ideas in May and June. These local elephants will join the national tour.
· More than a city: Past parades have been confined to a short, sunshine-dependent spell in a single town or city. By taking the tour indoors into prime retail space, intu is giving Elephant Parade exposure to a far greater and more diverse audience.
· Celebrating diversity: The tour gives a platform for established and new art talent, in an artist line-up geared to represent the UK regions. From fishing villages to city cathedrals and rural landscapes, the herd creates a national tour with local flavour.
Breaking records for Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade’s partnership with intu has allowed it to break its own records for an Elephant Parade exposition.
· Fastest: More than 600 design ideas were submitted within a month of Elephant Parade announcing plans to return to the UK and commissions for the full herd were completed in just 40 days.
· Youngest: The forthcoming tour will also feature the youngest ever artist to gain a commission for an Elephant Parade statue. Amardip Ahluwalia (aged 8) from Copthorne Preparatory School in West Sussex is creating a half-size Elephant Parade statue that will join the national tour.
· Biggest: Thousands of Elephant Parade design ideas will be submitted during the tour, making it the biggest artisitic engagement exercise for any Elephant Parade.
· Quickest: Most parades take 6-12 months to plan. This tour, which covers 13 times more locations and will run for seven times longer than most single city parades, has been put together in less than half that time.
Trevor Pereira commercial director at intu commented:
“Elephant Parade has set the standard for bringing the fun into supporting an important cause, and their elephant statues have become iconic around the world. We wanted to make this tour the people’s parade – to enable people from all walks of life to be part of an Elephant Parade, whilst also giving them exposure to a national audience for the first time. Raising lasting awareness of the conservation issues is as important this time round as just raising money for the Asian elephant.”
“We have capped the prices of tour elephants so more people can get involved in fulfilling a dream to own one and our schools programme, the digital tour and the live painting workshops will give people more ways to get involved in the parade. Perhaps above all, this festival of colour will unite communities and give people from all walks of life a reason to smile as the elephants bring moments of surprise and delight that will make a normal day out quite special.”