ICC has a hoot hosting three owls

30 July 2015 Jenna Hadley

The International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham will be hosting three giant owl sculptures as part The Big Hoot

The International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham will be hosting three giant owl sculptures as part The Big Hoot, an initiative by Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and Wild in Art to bring together business, artists, schools and the local community to create a public art exhibition across Birmingham.

With 89 owl sculptures – each one individually created by local and regional artists – being placed across the 10 districts of Birmingham, the ICC, part of the NEC Group, couldn’t resist getting involved and jumped at the chance to host some of the art while the trail is on display from 20th July  – 27th September. 

Nick Waight, Managing Director of Group Convention Centres, said: “When we found out that our NEC Group charity of the year, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, was putting together such an exciting public art event with one of the country’s top creative producers, Wild in Art, we just had to get involved and support them.

“The Big Hoot is a fantastic project that will hopefully capture the imagination of the public, and the ICC was the perfect place to host some sculptures as 80,000 people pass through the mall on a weekly basis. We hope locals will become a tourist in their own city whilst visitors from across the UK will take advance of our transport links and see what a wonderful place Birmingham – all while raising money for the Children’s Hospital.’

All the owls have been sponsored by local businesses and will be auctioned at the end of the trail in October with the hope of raising over £250k for the Children’s Hospital.

Elinor Eustace, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity said: “The Big Hoot will be a fantastic spectacle for Birmingham and will help to raise valuable funds for our hospital.  “We’re delighted the NEC Group has chosen to support us as its charity of the year and that the ICC has offered a safe home for some of the amazing owl sculptures on The Big Hoot trail. It is thanks to them that we will ultimately be able to fund some important projects for the children and young people at our hospital and for that we’re immensely grateful.”

Sally-Ann Wilkinson, Director of Wild in Art said: We are thrilled to have the ICC involved with The Big Hoot trail. Our public art projects have a proven track record of increasing community engagement and we’re confident that this will continue in Birmingham, as visitors and residents alike discover the city through this unique and visually stunning artistic trail.”

Alongside the giant 165cm owls there will be a further 120 smaller ‘owlets’, fondly known as ‘The Little Hoot’. These owlets are part of a citywide education programme which has engaged with over 25,000 young children from nursery, primary, secondary and special schools together a college and four community groups. These can be viewed at 18 venues across the city.

At the end of the 10 week trail, the owlets will be returned to the schools that created them as a memento of The Big Hoot, whereas the large owls will be auctioned in October to raise funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

For more information on the location of the owls and owlets, or to download the app, please visit www.thebighoot.co.uk

The owls hosted by the ICC are:

Owlfred Decorated with portraits of Birmingham people and photographs from the Birmingham Post and Mail archives, Owlfred is a fantastic interactive owl. Behind the owl’s left mirrored eye there is a camera that is capturing film and portraits of all those that engage with him. Talk to Owlfred and your responses may feature in the Birmingham Post and Mail. Created by: Kristian Movahed, based on a concept by Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post Sponsor: Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post

Percy Pertemps Percy Pertemps is a cheery tribute to Birmingham’s diverse and dedicated workforce and to the West Midlands recruitment company, formed in 1961, that has since grown into a national organisation. Various jobs are represented in this celebration of the rights and interests of Birmingham’s Pertemps professionals and the contribution they make to the city’s personality and its success. Artist: Cathy Simpson Sponsor: Pertemps Network

Welcome to Birmingham Welcome to Birmingham is inspired by the idea of the changing infrastructure and landscape of the city. It references Birmingham’s famous canal and road networks and some of its most exciting, recent architectural developments. The human figures in the design represent Birmingham’s diverse population, interacting with spaces and buildings, and with each other. Artist: Laura Hallett Sponsor: Pertemps Network