A very special guest is set to grace the grounds of the Moorland Garden Hotel in Devon this summer as part of a Dartmoor-wide Moor Otters art trail. ‘Potter Otter’ will be one of 100 original pieces of art making up the trail across the moor in a first of its kind fundraising initiative to help preserve the unique landscape of Dartmoor National Park and make it accessible to all.
Created by Gloucestershire artist, Rachel Shilston, to replicate Harry Potter, the Potter Otter sculpture will be on display from June to September before being auctioned off to raise funds for the National Park. He will be quite at home at the Moorland Garden Hotel, whose landscaped gardens already contain various striking sculptures created by local artists and previously part of the owners’ – Brian and Sonia Meaden – private collection.
Visitors to Dartmoor will be encouraged to seek out Mr Potter and his friends, each individually hand painted or decorated by a range of artists and local celebrities, and log the otters’ serial numbers as part of completing the trail.
Announcing the hotel’s participation in the initiative, General Manager Andrew King said: “We’re very excited to be welcoming one of the otters to the hotel and are delighted to be supporting this initiative. The trail will offer a great incentive for visitors and locals to get out and explore Dartmoor and we think it will appeal to lots of people; families, couples, art enthusiasts...
“We’re very lucky to work in such a spectacular and special place and are looking forward to sharing it and be part of preserving it.”
Gloucestershire-based artist and creative facilitator, Rachel Shilston, says that she is delighted to be involved in the Moor Otters project, which is her fourth public art trail to date. She took her inspiration from the magical world of Hogwarts and painted her otter in the style of the popular wizard, Harry Potter, which took 30 hours to paint.
She says “Art trails like the Moor Otters are great fun to be part of. I love the buzz they create in a community and how they introduce new audiences to art. They are a really fun activity to do with the family, it's like going on a treasure hunt, searching out the clever creations made by artists from all over the UK.” Rachel has also painted a five foot hare that will be launched as part of the Cotswold March Hare trail in March and will be painting a giant pig for a trail later in the year in Gloucestershire.
Dave Southern, Moor Otters project manager, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see the calibre of designs by all of the artists. It is exciting to see more businesses putting their hands up to get involved and we are delighted that the Moorland Garden Hotel has chosen to sponsor Potter Otter.
“The trail is an exciting opportunity to inspire visitors to explore the area and we encourage everyone to take part in the trail and enjoy the journey of locating these wonderful sculptures in person.”