Wild in Art and Walker Books embark on creative partnership in 2024

The ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ art trail is heading to Kingston and Birmingham with more to be announced following a hugely successful collaboration in Leeds in 2023.

Following the hugely successful collaboration with Walker Books on the ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ art trail in Leeds during summer last year, we are delighted to be embarking on a creative partnership with the world’s leading independent publisher of children’s books in 2024.

The ongoing partnership will see ten bear sculptures visit the Greater London town of Kingston for a trail delivered alongside Kingston First from 29th March – 7th June inviting residents, workers and visitors to explore Kingston’s streets, parks, and landmarks in search of them, before travelling up the M6 to Birmingham city centre where they will reside between 1st July – 30th September as part of a trail funded by Central BID Birmingham, with more to be announced later in the year.

David Oates Photography

Independent research into the impact of the Leeds Bear Hunt found that the trail delivered a direct economic benefit of £5.09 million for the city with a GVA (Gross Value Added) of £2.3 million. More than 147,060 residents and visitors actively engaged with the trail with many thousands more exposed to the trail during the nine weeks the Bear sculptures were on display.

For the Kingston and Birmingham Bear Hunts, the sculptures have been beautifully designed by ten different artists, with five used in the Leeds trail and five brand-new bears showcasing never-before-seen artwork that captures light-hearted and thought-provoking themes, including diversity, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, and more.

The ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ art trail is inspired by the award-winning animation, based on the much-loved picture book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, and was Wild in Art’s first collaboration with Walker Books, and Leeds Hospitals Charity.

Decorated by artists, designers and illustrators, the 35 giant bears on the trail celebrated the vibrancy, culture and creativity of Leeds, taking visitors and locals alike on a family-friendly trail of discovery around the city and the surrounding open spaces, highlighting iconic spots and hidden gems, while engaging with local communities.

Wild in Art and Walker Books are looking to recreate the positive impact that the Bear Hunt had in Leeds at locations around the country, as the independent research also found that more than 65% of respondents visited over half of the sculptures on the trail, with 88% spending extra time in Leeds as a result. 80% said that Leeds Bear Hunt took them to locations they hadn’t previously visited within the city.

David Oates Photography

The impact on wellbeing was huge, as the trail enabled family and friends of all ages to spend time together. Trail-goers using the pedometer within the Leeds Bear Hunt app walked over 43 million steps and over 19,500 miles, and 80% of survey respondents reported that the trail enhanced their health and wellbeing. Some 71% of respondents said that the trail helped them to get outdoors more and 83% felt that it encouraged them to walk more than usual.

There were more than 3.8 million engagements with the Leeds Bear Hunt app, as people used it to plan their visit, follow the trail and share the sculpture designs with family and friends. Using the app, 253,779 Bears were ‘unlocked’ and collected by trail-goers.

Pindy O’Brien, International Licensing and Market Development Director said: “Wild in Art truly excels in creating captivating sculpture trails like no other! Their exceptional work in Leeds speaks volumes, and we couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with them to breathe life into our storybook in numerous towns and cities. It offers families a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in art and nature, all while keeping the kids entertained and smiling during their Bear Hunt adventure!”

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said:  “We’re delighted to be working with Walker Books to bring the much-loved We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to life through a 3D canvas. The partnership is a great endorsement of the cultural benefits of our events, which bring fun, free, art galleries to communities and unique opportunities for artists and brands to reach new audiences.”

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