“We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” art trail continues in London and Birmingham.

March 21, 2024

3 Min Read
A Walk on the Wild Side, Rachael and Phillippa Corcutt, David Oates Photography
A Walk on the Wild Side - Rachael and Phillippa Corcutt, David Oates Photography

Global art producer, Wild in Art, and independent publisher of children’s books, Walker Books, are set to embark on a creative partnership this year, following their first collaboration on the “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” art trail in Leeds in 2023.

The ongoing partnership will see 10 bear sculptures visit the Greater London town of Kingston for a trail delivered alongside Kingston First, March 29 to June 7, 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 center where they will reside July 1 to Sept. 30 as part of a trail funded by Central BID Birminghamwith more to be announced later in the year.

Independent research into the impact of the Leeds Bear Hunt found 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 engaged with the trail with many thousands more exposed to the trail during the nine weeks the bear sculptures were on display, and this popularity led to Wild in Art and Walker Books taking their creative relationship to the next level.

For the Kingston and Birmingham Bear Hunts, the sculptures have been designed by 10 artists, with five used in the Leeds trail and five new bears showcasing never-before-seen artwork that captures light-hearted and thought-provoking themes, including diversity, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity and more.

Related:Publishing Brand Licensing Special Report: Good in Print, Great in Licensing

The art trail is inspired by the award-wining animation, based on the 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 celebrate 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 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 the Leeds “Bear Hunt” took them to locations they hadn’t previously visited within the city. 

The impact on well-being 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 the trail enhanced their health and well-being. Some 71% of respondents said the trail helped them get outdoors more and 83% felt 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. 

“Wild in Art truly excels in creating captivating sculpture trails like no other,” says Pindy O’Brien, international licensing and market development director, Walker Books. “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.”

“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,” says Charlie Langhorne, managing director, co-founder, Wild in Art. “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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