Gromit unleashed

By | Category: Travel news

your very last chance to see 80 Gromits

In the summer CD-Traveller reported the interesting curious case of the dogs in Bristol where 80 sculptures of Gromit appeared all over Bristol. Designed by celebrities and well-known artists they pinpointed an art trail through the city. Then they disappeared.

Now they have reappeared from today just until the end of the weekend but this time they are all in one place, the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Clifton. Entitled a little grandiosely, ‘The Greatest Dog Show on Earth,’ this is the only opportunity to see them together before they are auctioned off in October and the proceeds given to Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

The 80 Gromit’s in the city has proved to be an interesting tourism exercise. Visitors came to Bristol to see them but so did vandals who damaged three but in a way that proved useful to the tourist authorities too because it gave them additional coverage. Did the vandalism matter when it got publicity for Bristol which also enabled the charitable aspects to be highlighted each time?

What this has shown though is how inventive tourism officials have to be in order to attract visitors. To get the publicity in the first place, an idea has to be picked up by the media – not just the local titles which would probably publish anything anyway – but national and international media as well. 200,000 people have collected the artist trail maps during the time that the 80 Gromits have been dotted around Bristol. To put that into perspective, that’s more people than would visit the famed Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool in a whole year.

When the M Shed Museum opened in the city in 2011 at a cost of £27 million it took four months to get to 200,000 visitors. So Gromit has proved to be not only successful but very much cheaper in its achievement.

UPDATE: 4 October 2013
Last night all 81 statues of Gromit were sold raising £2.3 million for the Bristol Children’s Hospital.

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