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In partnership with Wild in Art, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) will display a herd of eight-foot-tall giraffe models across Edinburgh to help the city recover after lockdown and raise much needed funds for wildlife conservation.
Each sculpture will be designed and decorated by artists and communities to create the large-scale public art event, which will celebrate Edinburgh’s extraordinary heritage and cultural diversity.
David Field, RZSS chief executive, said, “Following a wonderful welcome for our real-life giraffes in their new hilltop home at Edinburgh Zoo, we now want to share these majestic giants with the city of Edinburgh and visitors from around the UK and the world, through a stunning, family- friendly art trail.
“After the immense challenges we have all faced over the last year, Giraffe About Town will help local people and tourists fall in love with Edinburgh all over again by encouraging them to get out about town and explore these beautiful sculptures, while at the same time supporting the recovery of our wildlife conservation charity.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic forced the closures of Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park for five months, costing RZSS over £1.5 million,” said Mr Field.
“Raising funds to continue our work is incredibly important and we have been touched by the support we have received from animal lovers who are passionate about protecting wildlife.
“Giraffe About Town is one way we can say thank you and bring a feelgood factor back to Edinburgh with something truly special.
“It is also a really exciting opportunity for businesses, organisations, artists, schools and whole communities to get involved.”
Wild in Art said they are “delighted” to be working with the RZSS.
Charlie Langhorne, managing director and co-founder of Wild in Art said, “We are delighted to be working with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland to create this art trail for Edinburgh.
“Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone and we hope that businesses will recognize the cultural benefits of getting involved and sponsoring a giraffe as well as the positives for the local community.”
The Lord Provost of Edinburgh Frank Ross said the imaginative art trail will be a “fantastic sight” on the streets.
He added: “It will offer family-friendly fun and can help us all reconnect with the city, while promoting climate conversations and supporting the arts, a sector which has been hugely impacted by the pandemic.
“This is an excellent way to get involved with a city-wide project that will support the zoo, the vital conservation work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and, in turn, protect endangered species around the world.”
To celebrate the launch, Giraffe About Town supporting partner Flock Creative worked with Edinburgh College of Art graduate Carolina Haraki to paint the first sculpture with a bright, colourful design inspired by the colours of Victoria Street and blossoming flowers representing rebirth, regrowth and recovery for the capital.