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Highland Hospice issues plea for artists to colour squirrel sculptures

Renowned sculptor Scot Gleed in the process of designing the mould for the 20 strong army of squirrels which will be placed around the Highlands.
Renowned sculptor Scot Gleed in the process of designing the mould for the 20 strong army of squirrels which will be placed around the Highlands.

Highland Hospice has issued an appeal to budding local artists to add their own unique designs to a series of squirrel sculptures which will form an art trail across the Highlands.

Artists from all walks of life are asked to submit their designs to decorate the five-foot-tall sculptures, as part of the Go Nuts art trail, which will be shortlisted by a panel of experts.

The designs, if shortlisted, will then progress forward to an exhibition.

The 20 squirrel sculptures will spread across the region and will be placed in every location which has a Highland Hospice shop.

These include Alness, Tain, Wick, Thurso, Portree, Fort Wiliam, Aviemore, Beauly, Dornoch, Grantown, Forres and Nairn – as well as seven in the city of Inverness.

Highland Hospice events fundraiser Jenna Hayden said: “Becoming a Go Nuts artist will give you the opportunity to showcase your work in front of a huge audience all over the Highlands.

“Your name will appear on the sculpture plaques, trail website, in our app and key publications such as the map and souvenir guide.

“Plus, you will have the chance to work with a well-known and much loved local charity on a project which will make a real difference to the lives of many.

“If you are a keen artist, please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you.”

Renowned fine art sculptor Scott Gleed has been commissioned to design the sculptures, with the trail anticipated to go live for 14 weeks over next summer.

Mr Gleed said: “It has been brilliant, the Highland Hospice are absolutely fantastic to work with and nothing seems to faze the team there. It makes a real change because I usually make sharks – so there are not as many pointy bits on the squirrels.

“At this point, I have a five-foot squirrel around 60% sculpted. I am hoping to have the master completely sculpted by Christmas. As this is the process that takes all the time, it needs to be right.

“I am looking at moulding in the beginning of January and completing the full 20 by the end of March.”

Sponsors are still being sought for some of the squirrels, with Vehicle Rental, Tulloch Homes, Simpsons Garden Centre, Anderson Clark, Novar Estate and the Eastgate Shopping Centre already pledging over £1,000 each to sponsor the sculptures.

Once the trail has ended in September 2019, the sculptures will be gathered for a farewell display before being auctioned off in November to raise funds for the Highland Hospice, the local palliative care home for the people of the Highlands.

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