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Himalayan Otter Project

The Otter Project is a partnership between Dudley Zoo and The Art Yard in collaboration with the following community art groups; Visual Artist Collective, Backroom Artists, Dudley Adult & Life-Long Community Learning, The Art Yard (Art Club), Halesowen College (Creative Students), Happy Painters (West Smethwick Park), Dudley Society of Artists, and TAY Volunteers.

A total of 8 cold cast resin otters some 90cm high have been produced, each art group designing and completing the artistic painting of one of the otters.

An Open Exhibition of the finished pieces will take place during the half-term February holiday, 2024.

The otters will then be toured around the wider Midlands area to promote the Himalayan Short Clawed Otter charity, which works to protect and preserve this smallest and endangered otter species.

Eventually the otters will be sold at auction due to take place in May 2024 with the proceeds going to resource the charity.

The otters were delivered to the Zoo in early December 2023, from which time those involved began designing their artwork coatings. Much of the Otter Project publicity work, such as posters, leaflets, photographs, etc., will be  created by the art, graphic design and photography students of Halesowen, including their Animal Health students.

The otter art designs will appear first on these pages and updates on the project will be posted on The Art Yard's social media pages at:

"Spotter Otter" Premiere"   (February 2024)

It’s been a secret project in the pipeline for around six months now with Midland Film And Art group (c/o The Art Yard) working in collaboration with the Education Department for Dudley Zoo & Castle (DZC).


Eight community art groups from across the Black Country combined under the leadership of MFAA(TAY) Treasurer Harry Bloomer to design and paint schemes of 3D artworks on model otters that will eventually be auctioned off by DZG to raise money for charity.


The Himalayan Short Clawed Otter is the smallest otter species world-wide and is a highly endangered species. In order to raise funds to support the Otter Charity, the Education and Community Engagement team of DZC commissioned the production of 8 model otters, each 90 cm high, to auction for charity.


On 1st August 2023 the Zoo got in touch with MFAA group Treasurer, Harry Bloomer at TAY gallery and asked if the management team would help to get the otters painted by artists in time for the half-term school holiday in February 2024. Harry arranged to meet with Jack Williams and Eve Carter of the Zoo’s education team to identify their needs, following which he called for volunteer art groups from across the Black Country to design and paint the otters, getting responses from artists from Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. On 21st September Harry sent a brief to participants asking them to complete their otter designs based loosely on the subjects of 'nature' and 'wildlife' by mid-November.  The model otters were expected to arrive at the Zoo by the beginning of December.


A deadline of 4th November was given to complete the otter designs and a total of 46 designs were produced by those involved. Preferred designs were agreed on at a planning meeting by Jack, Eve and Harry.


The otters arrived in early December and were distributed to the art groups who were given a deadline of 26th January 2024 to complete painting and varnishing the models. The 8 groups were:    Back Room Artists    Chris Nightingale from Wolverhampton (c/o The Art Yard)    Greg Broad from Smethwick (c/o The Art Yard)    Halesowen Level 3 Art & Graphic Design students    Happy Painters (West Smethwick Park)    Learning 4 Life (Dudley Adult Learning)    Terry Glazebrook (c/o Dudley Society of Artists    Visual Artist Collective

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