Bears of Sheffield

We are delighted to announce that a new must-see sculpture trail, Bears of Sheffield, is set for the streets of Sheffield next summer!

We are calling on businesses, schools, artists and the public to come together and support the project, which will raise money to transform our Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

From July 2020, up to 60 uniquely-painted, life-sized bears will be placed around the city. The project is aiming to raise more than the £600,000 which was raised during the Herd of Sheffield, our last sculpture trail!

The Herd of Sheffield comprised a trail of 58 large elephants and 72 small elephants, attracting 175,000 visitors to the city and engaging over 10,000 children. Bears of Sheffield is set to be even bigger. As well as 60 large bears, up to 80 baby bears will be available for young children to design and decorate their own pieces of art for everyone to see.

David Vernon-Edwards, Director of the charity said: “The Herd of Sheffield in 2016 was the biggest public arts project the city had ever seen. As well as the money raised, it brought together artists, sponsors and school children to showcase the vision, creativity and generosity of Sheffield.”

“We want this project to be even bigger, but to do that we need your help. If you are involved in a company or part of a school, we need you to join the Bear trail. You can be at the heart of this huge opportunity to create a memorable cultural experience for the city and raise much-needed funds for our Cancer and Leukaemia ward.”

Businesses wishing to sponsor one of the bear sculptures, standing at 2.1m tall, will be able to choose from a selection of special designs as well as having their company logo and details displayed on the bear when it is on show from July to September 2020.

Schools, nurseries and colleges can sponsor a baby bear sculpture for a minimum fundraising target of £750 to be raised throughout the term. Once registered, each participating establishment will be given their own small bear for them to design and paint. It will then go on display throughout the summer holidays for all to see, before being returned as a permanent memento of the project.

We are currently working with artists, designers and illustrators across the country to bring the best talent to Sheffield. These include Jo Peel, Morag Myerscough, Pete McKee, Thereza Rowe, William Luz and Nicolas Burrows, with many more artists to be announced soon.

Budding artists will also be able to get involved through an open call to discover new talent for the trail, having been tasked to capture the public imagination with creative and striking designs for the 3-D sculptures. The trail will begin next July, when the public will be able to follow its route courtesy of an interactive app.

The first to decorate a bear will be local artist Jo Peel, whose work documents everyday scenes, telling stories over the world around her as she explores its changing face. Her work can be seen around Sheffield in the form of huge public murals.

The inspiration for the Bear theme of the trail came from our hospital and charity mascot Theo Bear, who will also be represented with a special sculpture. The trail has been designed to represent the gentle, joyful and playful tendencies of a bear’s natural character.

The bear sculptures have been designed by local artist David Maynes and made in Sheffield by Simpsons Patterns Ltd of Attercliffe, a firm established more than three generations ago to make patterns for the city’s foundries.

Simpson Patterns Ltd, was established over 100 years ago in Sheffield making patterns for the city's foundries. Since that time the company has evolved significantly and now offers an increased range of services to clients both nationally and internationally using new technologies and modern materials without compromising on the company ethos it was built on. “Our vision is to fully help our clients shape their next solution offering a complete service. From design, modelling, prototype & manufacturing outstanding solutions to specific engineering requirements.”

Managing Director Mark Rixham said: "We are honoured to have been selected to work with The Children's Hospital Charity on this project alongside fellow Sheffield artist David Mayne to bring his bear to life.

This project has included a multitude of our services - including 3D Scanning the bear in the bear pit creating a 3D Model to smooth the bear out then 5 axis machining a MDF pattern and finally creating the moulds for the finished bears.

Working on this project has been a team effort. We are hoping it to be a resounding success for The Children's Hospital Charity. We're looking forward to seeing the results of our work and joint collaboration installed around Sheffield decorated by a number of artists."

To get involved, email [email protected], you can also follow the trail’s progress at: Twitter: @BearsofSheff Facebook: @BearsofSheffield Instagram: @BearsofSheffield!