Mass art event to celebrate 50 years of Colchester Zoo - Giraffe sculptures to be painted by local artists - Funds raised to benefit zoo charity, Action for the Wild

colchester zoo
colchester zoo

In celebration of their 50th birthday, Colchester Zoo, presents Stand Tall for Giraffes, a huge public art event, in partnership with their charity, Action for the Wild, and global leaders in mass participation art events, Wild in Art.

For 10 weeks in the summer of 2013, Colchester’s streets, parks and open spaces will be taken over by some unusual visitors - 2.5 metre high giraffe sculptures. The giraffe sculptures will engage local professional artists who will design and paint them, and celebrate the creativity of Colchester. The event will culminate in an auction of the sculptures to raise funds for global conservation projects through the zoo’s charity Action For The Wild, including the charity’s UmPhafa Reserve in South Africa.

The project is being developed in partnership with Wild in Art, an experienced arts, events and education company who are the team behind successfully staged similar events in the UK, Europe and Africa. The giraffes will be seen throughout Colchester and its surrounding areas from 2nd June 2013, followed by a farewell tour back to the zoo on the 26th August.

The auction will take place in September 2013. Stand Tall will be launched at Colchester Zoo on Wednesday August 1st 2012, by Nicola Wood, World sand sculpting Champion and presenter of CBBC’s Deadly Art Show. She will be working to create a sand sculpture of a giraffe from 15 tonnes of sand, which will form the centrepiece of a garden to celebrate the 50th birthday.

Anthony Tropeano, Director of Colchester Zoo says, “We are thrilled to be launching this exciting event at Colchester Zoo. Stand Tall for Giraffes is not only a fantastic spectacle for the people of Colchester, it is an excellent way to raise vital funds for the conservation work carried out by our charity Action for the Wild, and what better way to celebrate our 50th birthday! This is our gift to the people of Colchester and the surrounding area for their support over the years. We are dedicating our 50th anniversary celebrations to the memory of my mother, Mrs Angela Tropeano, who was Director of Colchester Zoo from 1983 to 2011.”

“Stand Tall will be Colchester’s highest profile event in 2013 and we expect a surge in visitors to the town, which will lead to a welcome boost to the town’s economy. We are extremely grateful for the sponsorship and support we have received so far, and would welcome more. So keep your eyes peeled for the outstanding art work that will be appearing around town in the near future and get ready for the magnificent sight of the giraffes in the summer of 2013.” he added. Celebrities are lending their support to Stand Tall, including Steve Backshall, British naturalist, writer and television presenter.

He says, “Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to get involved with a few projects linking my chosen subject of natural history and art, and have found much common ground. Art is one of the great ways of expressing what it is to be human, biology does much the same. I wish you all the very best with this wonderful project - I just wish you let me do one of the giraffes myself!”

Michaela Strachan, Wildlife TV presenter says, “I remember when they painted elephants to raise money and awareness for wildlife. They looked amazing leading the way to Covent Garden in London. I’m sure the giraffes will look equally fabulous in Colchester. Wildlife and works of art are always a great combo although painting them must be a tall order for the artists! Happy painting and happy birthday to Colchester Zoo.”

A preview ‘Road trip’ tour is taking place this summer with one of the giant giraffes as he visits various locations throughout the town and county to promote next year’s activity.

A colourful Stand Tall mural is currently in situ at Roman House and further ones are planned at The Mercury Theatre external walls and Sainsbury’s Tollgate imposing glass front of store. If you would like more information on how to get involved please contact

Stand Tall has already gratefully confirmed the sponsorship of firstsite, University of Essex, Heart FM, Newsquest, Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council, The SVC Group, Clarke Infinity, Sainsbury, Cofunds, Kent Blaxill and many more, all of whom will attend an exclusive sponsor’s reception at firstsite on 27th September 2012.

Further sponsorship and support is being sought from local businesses and organisations. Those wanting to get involved can download the Sponsorship Information Pack and the Sponsorship Order Form from