THEY have been the talk of the town for weeks but now it’s time for the swan song of an outdoor public art exhibition which has helped spirits fly high during the coronavirus crisis.
The Burton Swans Trail closes on Sunday, October 18, having captured the hearts of thousands of people who have taken ‘swan selfies’ and videos and left heart-warming comments on social media.
Sadly, the swans can’t stay forever – but there’s now a chance to buy one, with all the proceeds going to help Burton YMCA, which has been forced to cancel numerous events due to Covid-19.
The ‘swan song’ online-only auction will be hosted by Richard Winterton, of Richard Winterton Auctioneers, from 7.30pm on Monday, October 26.
The catalogue is online now via bit.ly/AuctionDates where all swans can be viewed and potential bidders can register – the latter can also be done by calling 01543 251081 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project manager Tilley Bancroft, from the award-winning Red Door Studios, said: “Public art raises the spirits and brings a smile. This time, it will also do a lot of good as well through the YMCA’s vital work locally.
“Richard Winterton has been very generous in his support, which means that all the money raised through bids on the night will go to our charity partner, Burton YMCA to fund its work in our town, which is needed more than ever in 2020.
“We know people will miss the swans, but we’re hoping that they can all find good homes where they’ll continue to bring joy and pleasure as well as raising much-needed money to support people in crisis.”
Tilley added: “We have no idea who might bid on a swan. Some of their sponsors might put in a bid, or maybe someone would just love a swan in their own garden.”
As well as the 23 1.5m tall swans – all with their own unique design, theme and name – the auction will feature 11 other pieces from swan artists ranging from etchings to collages.
Burton YMCA chief executive Paul Laffey said: “The Burton Swans Project has been a brilliant outdoor art exhibition bringing light and colour to Burton in very challenging times.
“Tilley Bancroft from Red Door Studios has worked tirelessly in creating this wonderful swan art trail.
“She’s managed to bring together businesses, artists and community groups whilst choosing the YMCA as the beneficiary charity.
“It’s been a huge collaboration and has shone a bright spotlight on the generosity of talent in the district.
“The Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton has also been a wonderful partner in the project.
“Everyone at YMCA Burton is thrilled and thankful to Tilley and her team and all of the generous sponsors for making this event happen.”
He added: “We are really looking forward to Richard Winterton Auctioneers hosting the auction of the Swans on Monday, October 26. They have also kindly donated their services and expertise for free.
“We hope the auction of the swans generates a lot of interest and income on the night as the charity has had to cancel over 10 fundraising events in the year so far as a result of COVID-19.”
Auctioneer Richard Winterton said: “To have successfully run such a large public art trail is a huge achievement at the best of times but to do so in the current climate is just so impressive.
“To cap it all, these fantastic swans will now raise money for Burton YMCA, which is a wonderful local charity.
“We are delighted to be able to help.”
Before the swans fly off, their last weekend in the streets and open spaces of Burton will be marked by a special competition on social media across October 17-18 with farewell photos posted using the hashtag #SwanSongSelfie.
Tilley will pick a favourite picture and the winner will receive a full set of Burton Swans merchandise and a printed map signed by illustrator and swan artist Heather Horsley.
For more information on the swans auction, visit www.richardwinterton.co.uk, email email@example.com or telephone 01543 251081.