Heart of Kent Hospice brings first-ever art trail to Maidstone

A spectacular, public art installation is coming to Maidstone in the summer of 2021, thanks to a collaboration between Heart of Kent Hospice, Wild in Art and independent children’s books publisher Andersen Press.

To galvanise support for the project, the Hospice announced the exciting news to an invited audience of business, local authority and community leaders at a launch event in Maidstone Town Hall yesterday, Thursday 7 March 2019.

At the same time the charity revealed it would be hosting the first-ever sculpture trail in the County town, the star of the show was unveiled to reveal Elmer the Patchwork Elephant!

Elmer, who turns 30 this year, is one of the most iconic and widely read children’s book series of all time.  In summer 2021, a herd of beautifully decorated Elmers will be marching off the page and onto the streets of Maidstone, providing a stunning tourist attraction in the town for the public to enjoy.

Each Elmer will be uniquely designed by a different artist, and the Hospice aims to have over 40 Elmer sculptures available for sponsorship in iconic locations around the town.

Sarah Pugh, Chief Executive of Heart of Kent Hospice, enthused:

“We’re really excited to bring this high quality, temporary tourist attraction to the community we serve and, who in turn, generously support us.

“Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade will bring together all areas of the community to put Maidstone on the map, showcase the wealth of talent in the area and contribute to the economic, cultural and social life of the town, whilst at the same time raising valuable funds and the profile of the Hospice.”

At this first stage Heart of Kent Hospice is inviting businesses and community organisations to sign up and benefit from the opportunities the project will bring, whilst also supporting a much-loved and much-needed, local charity.

Some corporate supporters of the charity have already pledged their participation, including Westerhill Homes, part of the award-winning, Kent-based property and construction company, Chartway Group who is the first Official Presenting Partner of Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade. KM Media Group has kindly agreed to be the Official Media Partner, Scarbutts Printers the Trail’s Official Print Partner, MCM Net, the Official Social Media Partner, and Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers, the Official Auction Partner. In just a few days of knowing about the trail, Gullands Solicitors has stampeded in to be the first to sponsor an Elmer.

Charlie Langhorne, Director of Wild in Art, added:

“By joining forces with Andersen Press and creating a blank 3D canvas inspired by the famous patchwork elephant, we just know that this big parade will have a positive impact on Maidstone’s residents and visitors, and of course Heart of Kent Hospice.”

Paul Black, PR and Brand Director of Andersen Press, said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Heart of Kent Hospice and Wild and Art to bring this free, public, family art trail to Maidstone – Elmer has been a part of Andersen Press’ work for over three decades now, and we hope through this activity to really bring him to life. We can’t wait to see the colourful sculptures all over your town and help raise some money for the Hospice in the meantime!”

Organisations are invited to register their interest in a partnership or sponsoring a sculpture by emailing elmer@hokh.co.uk.