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Snowdogs by the Sea interview

Posted in: Corporate

OneFamily is proud to support Brighton and Hove charity, Martlets Hospice, and be part of the Wild in Art campaign ‘Snowdogs by the Sea’ this autumn. We met with Wild in Art director, Charlie Langhorne, to chat all things Snowdog…

How did Wild in Art begin?

A long time ago! We launched in 2008 with Liverpool (the year it was the European capital of culture). The sculptures were of  Superlambanana, which is an iconic Liverpool sculpture. We canvased a trail of 122 Superlambananas around the city. The trail was voted the most popular event by the people of Liverpool.

From there, we have completed trails all over the world – 35 events – with a London Olympic mascot trail in 2012 and other events in San Paolo, Nairobi, Christchurch, Sydney and Melbourne.

Of course we have the trail in Brighton, but we have other events coming up in Perth and Auckland. Our events have already raised around £8 million for different charities and I have to admit that after these incredible but far flung events, it is great to just roll out of bed and enjoy an event in my hometown.

Brighton has a rich history in the arts. What made it the perfect place for this art trail in particular?

Brighton is one of those places that has got such a vibrant artistic community. It’s been so exciting to see the designs that the artists have come up with and spotting all the hidden inspiration that has come from landmarks all over the city. The events are something I feel very proud of; knowing that for eight weeks Brighton and Hove will be populated with these stunning Snowdogs makes me really proud.

Why was the Martlets Hospice picked as Brighton’s charity?

I chose the Martlets due to my own first-hand knowledge of their work but also because they are such a well-regarded local charity in Brighton and Hove. They did an outstanding job looking after a friend of mine a number of years ago and to be able to support a local charity and in a small way to say thank you for how well they looked after my friend is a joy.

Why was the Snowdog chosen to be the character for Brighton?

We were approached by Penguin, who offered us the Snowdog to use, which was the perfect canvas and sculpture choice for one of our trails. With Raymond Briggs (the author of the snowman, which inspired the Snowdog) just up the road in Ditchling, it just made sense. The fact that it’s a Brighton character is the cherry on the cake; it’s like we are bringing the Snowdog home.

How are schools involved in the trails?

Local schools have been provided with smaller Snowdogs, along with creative packs to create Snowdog puppies.

We wanted to reach everyone in Brighton and Hove, as this is not just a Wild in Art event or even a Martlets event, but it is for everyone that lives in Brighton and Hove and everyone who will visit because of the trail.

We saw in an interview with the Metro you enjoy a good pun. What’s the best you’ve heard for the Snowdogs?

Let me paws for thought… I’ll sniff one out. Read the full article here.

How do you see this affecting Brighton in the long-term?

The thing about these events and what we hear each time we do one is that they give people a common topic of conversation. It doesn’t matter what their background is, their age or where they come from, it is a conversation starter – ‘which is your favourite?’ ‘Can you take my picture?’

The art trails encourage people to go out and explore their own city as a tourist. We are all guilty of just popping to the shops, or to our favourite local, but how often do we just go out and visit local attractions such as the Brighton Pavilion or the Pier?

The trails bring people together and provide cities with a new cohesiveness. I really hope the Snowdogs will allow residents and visitors to see Brighton in a new, refreshed light.

Hopefully there will also be an economic after effect; the Liverpool Superlambananas trail brought £44 million into the city in 2008.

We hope the auction in December, to sell the 44 Snowdog sculptures, will raise lots of money for the Martlets, allowing them to provide their exceptional care to even more people across Brighton and Hove.

But, forgetting all that, we want people to walk round a corner, bump into a Snowdog and smile. Everything comes from that smile, and it is all about making people smile.

Had you heard of OneFamily prior to this?

Funnily enough, all three of my children had a Junior ISA with OneFamily. They have all matured now but they provided a great starting point for each of my kids when they reached 18, from things like a first car, to helping towards a flat deposit, they were all delighted that we had put something away each month for them.

Why is it important that local businesses support projects like Snowdogs?

Being involved is so important, not only will companies see a direct return with increased sales and footfall, but also a slightly more nebulous return by contributing to the wellbeing of Brighton and Hove and its residents. These trails really do make people happy and encourage new interactions.