Following the Snowpups art trail across Brighton & Hove

Some of the magic of the film The Snowman and the Snowdog has been called into service along the streets of Brighton & Hove by local artists and children. The Snowdogs by the Sea project is raising funds for Martlets Hospice using the iconic Snowdog as its vehicle. Martlets has teamed up with Wild in Art to stage this extraordinary public art event along the streets of Brighton & Hove.

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If you wander around the city between 24 September and 27 November 2016 you will certainly run across lots of the giant Snowdog sculptures. They are all fully decorated by local artists and free to enjoy by the public. Smaller Snowpups are also on display and can be found in Brighton Museum & Art GalleryBooth Museum of Natural HistoryJubilee LibraryHove Museum & Art Gallery and Hove Library. The Snowpups have been designed and created by schoolchildren from 20 schools across the city. They are spread out now but on Sunday and Monday 4-5 December they will be coming together, along with the big dogs, for a finale event in Brighton Corn Exchange.

I followed the trail myself, starting at Hove Museum with the very beautiful snowdog decorated by designer Sarah Arnett. Sarah Arnett is already well known to the Royal Pavilion & Museums as in 2014 she designed the new look for the Royal Pavilion Foundation brochure and signage.

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Design for Pavilion Foundation by Sarah Arnett

The beauty of the interior of the Royal Pavilion of Brighton inspired her to make Hove Museum’s “Snow Dragon” dog Max.

Decoration and wallpapers inside the Royal Pavilion reveal a fantasy world of oriental-style imagined places where natural elements, birds, animals, and dragons coexist to delight the eyes of visitors. After studying and interpreting the flowers, plants and decorative elements Arnett hand drew them all, and carefully cut them out and collaged the design together on a black background.

Her illustration develops from the hand-drawn to the digital illustration and are a combination of imagination, craftmanship, refinement and an explosion of colours.

After being welcomed to Hove Museum by this glamorous Snowdog I stepped into the museum and met the little Snowpups.

The Snowpups were all originally white and as a blank canvas they were waiting to be filled up with images, new ideas, colours and fun. Kids and teachers worked in collaboration, discussing, researching and choosing their own original decoration. The children decided on themes such as love, friendship, loss and hope.

There were five pups at Hove Museum to begin with but they have recently been joined by a sixth, Sid. They have now taken the opportunity to wander around the museum, so if you visit today you will have to go and search for the pups that have wandered off!

The schools involved in the project are:

  • Blatchington Mill School with the Snowpup INCA. The decoration consists in many coloured speech bubble with words chosen by students as most representative of the truly inclusive community they are part of at Blatch school.
  • Brackenbury Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School with PEBBLES. Here the theme is Brighton by the seaside as the design includes pebbly beach, beach huts, a rainbow, sunshine and seagulls.
  • The Downs Park School with PAISLEY PUP. The pup’s patterns are uniquely decorated with the fingerprints of every child in the school from the age of 5 to 16 years old.
  • Hove Junior School with PAVILOLA. The design has been chosen through a school competition. The winner took her inspiration from the shapes and patterns of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and chose bold monochrome shapes that really stand out.
  • Portslade Aldridge Academy with DOODLE DOG. Chosen from a competition run by the Art Department of the school, this is a fun, bright and quirky design by a year 7 student.
  • Saltdean Primary School with SID. Designed by a year 6 and year 3 pupil, the decoration shows bits of sunny Saltdean, including the beautiful white cliffs, the blue sky, the beach huts and the high sea waves.

After visiting Hove Museum I made my way to the close by Hove Library where I bumped into four other lovely Pups scattered around the ground floor.

The schools we find represented here are:

  • Goldstone Primary School with the Snowpup GOLDY, whose name is inspired by the school’s name and colours, blue and gold. For the design, each year group from Nursery to Year 6 was given a paper template and they have been encouraged to use ideas explored in their art lessons.
  • Hillside Special School BY THE SEA WITH THE PETERS FAMILY. This Snowpup is in memory of Rob and Irene Peters who worked tirelessly for Hillside for many years as caretaker, governor and members of the PTA. The design is made of images of artwork created by the pupils with the theme ‘By The Sea’.
  • West Hove Infant School with ART. For this pup every child in Year 2 created their own illustration of what they think dogs look/should look like. Some ideas were inspired through the childrens’ love of their own pet dogs and others were hand drawn imaginatively. The colours used are red and grey to create a very own West Hove Infants uniform.
  • Brighton and Hove Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) with STARGAZER. Inspired by the idea of lost and found objects and the story hidden within an object, young people of the school were asked to bring in found objects with their story to decorate the Snowdog. The stories were put together to make a film about how the Snowdog was able to become whole again.

From here I headed to Dyke Road to discover the three Snowpups displayed in the galleries of the fascinating Booth Museum of Natural History.

Here the schools involved are:

  • Brunswick Primary School with SNOWDASH. The design, which reflects the vibrancy of the city, is the result of a school-wide competition. Four winners were chosen from reception to year 6.
  • Coombe Road Primary School with FLASH. The Snowdog is decorated in a slick silver colour and all the children of the school were encouraged to ‘leave their mark’ by signing their name on it.
  • Lancing College Prep School at Hove with MARTY JUNIOR. The design is inspired by the joining of the hands of every child in the school to represent friendship, caring, creativity and unity.

Another five great Snowpups were ready to be discovered in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. Here the pups are displayed in five different galleries and allow you to visit the extraordinary and varied collection held in the as much spectacular building, placed in the heart of the city.

The schools involved here are:

  • Bevendean Primary with BOSH (Bevendean’s Official Superhero). This super snowpup has the ability to change negative emotions to positive ones. Childrens’ concerns have been placed in his “worry bone”, so Learning Mentors could help with their problems.
  • Middle Street Primary School with MONTY. The puppy features design elements by a number of pupils and teachers, assisted with painting by local street artist Pinky. In the clouds that decorate the body can be seen self portraits of all 260 pupils from the school.
  • The Connected Hub with HUBBLE. The students have used the Martlets logo (a bird) as their inspiration. In each bird there is a message, either as a memorial, an inspiration or a hope for the future.
  • Westdene Primary School with A JOURNEY THROUGH SUSSEX. The design is inspired by the beautiful and unique Sussex countryside, with its distinctive windmills, rolling Downs and iconic chalk cliffs. All painted in an impressionist style.
  • Woodingdean Primary School with MAPLE BRACKEN. The design was chosen from a school-wide competition and is a combination of colourful leaves, flowers, butterflies and a rainbow.

My journey to discover the 22 Snowpups scattered around Brighton and Hove ended at the central Jubilee Library, where I found them from the entrance hall, through the ground floor, to the childrens’ area.

The schoosl represented here are:

  • Coldean Primary School with four designs corresponding to their four school houses – Brunswick House, Palmeira House, Regency House and Sussex House. Children from each house decorated their Snowdog with different tactile materials, including wood for the pup REGENCY ROVER, tiles for BRUNSWICK BARKER, sea shells for SHELBY OF SUSSEX, fabric and paper for PALMEIRA’S PATCHWORK PUP.
  • Elm Grove Primary School with GROVER. The decoration includes leaves in different shapes on green background. In the leaves there are the signatures of all the children at the school.

I can imagine the joy of the kids in working hard for the best decoration of their pup and to then see them exhibited before the eyes of the city. I believe that through this experience they will get closer to art and more confident with artistic techniques. They will certainly get to know important places such as our museums and libraries which hold pieces of our history and our art.

So don’t wait, do the Snowpup Art Trail yourself 🙂

For more information about the event visit www.snowdogsbythesea.co.uk

For more information about the venues:

Hove Museum & Art Gallery
19 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4AB
Tel 03000 290900, brightonmuseums.org.uk
Open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 10am-5pm,
Sun 2-5pm, Closed Wed
Free admission

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton BN1 1EE
Tel 03000 290900, brightonmuseums.org.uk
Open Tue-Sun 10am-5pm, Closed Mon
Admission fee payable,
Brighton & Hove residents free

Booth Museum of Natural History
194 Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 5AA
Tel 03000 290900, brightonmuseums.org.uk
Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat 10am-5pm
(closed 12-1.15pm) Sun 2-5pm, Closed Thu
Free admission

Jubilee Library
Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE
Tel 01273 290800
Open Mon, Tue, Thu 10am-7pm
Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm

Hove Library
182-186 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2EG
Tel 01273 296937
Open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat 10am-5pm
Wed 10am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm

Martina Bellotto, Hove Museum Assistant