A parliament of 100 Minerva Owl sculptures will adorn the city of Bath this summer. Minerva’s Owls – a 3-month public art event – will celebrate Bath’s Roman heritage and raise funds for local charities. The project takes its inspiration from the Roman Goddess Minerva, to whom the Roman Baths Temple was dedicated in the 1st century AD, and whose animal symbol was the owl of wisdom. Minerva’s owl can be seen carved into the stone pediment of the Roman Baths Temple at the Roman Baths Museum.
Sculptor Alan Dun created the stunning Minerva Owl maquette in clay. This was 3D-scanned at the University of Bath and the owl scan datafile was used to programme a robotic arm CNC machine at Fineline, a film prop company, which cut 1.1m & 75cm tall master owl sculptures from blocks of high-density polyurethane. You can watch the exciting owl making process here.
The large owls will be sponsored by businesses and organisation and then transformed into unique artworks by artists & designers. These owls will arrive on their 40cm high plinths in late June and will remain perched for three months before being auctioned for charity in October. Smaller ‘Owlets’ will be available for schools, community groups and charities to sponsor and decorate. These will also be displayed on plinths but will kept by sponsors after the event.
We're delighted that the Little Owl will be celebrated in this way. Little Owls can be spotted on the outskirts of Bath and we hope this beautiful art trail will inspire more people to seek out their local owls. There will be lots of owl-themed events and talks in Bath, which we will be supporting, including nest box making, education events & a landowners event to provide advice on managing habitat for owls. Exciting to think how many people will be talking about owls!
All of the event profits will be donated to four local charities: 70% to the Royal United Hospital's new Cancer Centre, and 30% divided equally between B&NES Young Carers, the Roman Baths Archway Project and our Bath-based UK Little Owl Project. We’re very grateful and honoured that proceeds from this creative event will help raptor workers to monitor and conserve this charismatic owl. Funds will be used for nest boxes, fieldwork costs and to organise owl surveys.
Minerva's Owls event organiser, Megan Witty, said: “Events like this are a fantastic way of shining a spotlight on our region’s creativity and heritage, increasing visitor numbers, bringing colour and fun activities to the streets of Bath, and raising funds for local charities.” For more information or to download Sponsorship, Artist or Schools packs, please visit the Minerva’s Owls website at www.minervasowls.org or contact the owl team at email@example.com.
Photography on this page by Paolo Ferla