When it comes to giant gorillas, Exeter is beating Torbay.
The Great Gorillas Project, marking Paignton Zoo’s 90th birthday, is stimulating rivalry between Exeter and Torbay – and right now, Exeter is on top.
Paignton Zoo has more than 20 corporate sponsors for its striking Great Gorillas sculptures and has had submissions from artists across the country eager to paint the 3D giants – but organisers report that both businesses and artists in Torbay have been slow to sign up.
Pippa Craddock, Director of Marketing & Development for Paignton Zoo, said: “There is interest from businesses in Torbay, and we have had some notable local names come on board, but so far more companies based in Exeter have signed up.”
The project is celebrating the 90th birthday of the region’s largest and best-known zoo, Paignton Zoo, which is a registered charity. It is also raising funds for gorilla conservation and a local community project.
Life-size model gorillas are being sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Torbay and Exeter.
Anna Gilroy from Creative Torbay: “We have had designs submitted from artists in London and Hampshire and elsewhere – but nothing from Torbay! We know there are a lot of very talented artists in the Bay – we really want to see some home-grown submissions!”
Exeter businesses such as ATASS Energy, the Guildhall Shopping Centre, the Princesshay Shopping Centre, Stagecoach and the University of Exeter are all part of the project.
In Torbay, Cavanna Homes, the Union Square Shopping Centre, Francis Clark and Wollen Michelmore are supporting the project.
The deadline for artists to submit design ideas is 4th January 2013.
Artists and sponsors will be matched up and public painting spaces, where people will be able to watch artists at work, will be open by February.