You’re having a giraffe! BID’s art-washing effort for Culture year

Borough of Culture 2023: this is what Croydon BID has come up with… It’s ‘unique’ and ‘individual’ at the same time, they say

Croydon BID, the business improvement district which represents some of the biggest employers in the town centre, is planning to unleash more than 30 eight-foot-tall statues of giraffes around their area next autumn.

It was Croydon BID that was behind the recent, brief and slightly underwhelming, art-washing effort with blow-up sculptures attached to some buildings around the town.

The giraffe announcement yesterday was made under the BID’s headings of “Accessibility”, “Business engagement”, and “Perception and Image”. So you can see where they are coming from.

It is all part of something they are calling “Croydon Stands Tall”, which they say is “the much-anticipated”, really? “… collaboration with internationally renowned Wild In Art”. Who?

The giraffe fest is to be, “One of the 14 showcase events for the London Borough of Culture”. So this is some of the best that they could come up with. Because, like, Croydon. And giraffes.

Croydon BID says, “Croydon Stands Tall will bring the town centre to life with a 10-week mass participation art trail, involving people from across all communities, attracting visitors and footfall and supporting the local economy as we look to recover.

“The 30 eight-foot-tall giraffe sculptures will be uniquely and individually painted by selected artists and positioned across the town centre to create a free, family-friendly trail suitable for all ages to enjoy, discover and explore as we celebrate Croydon and the London Borough of Culture.”

As well as not realising the meaning of words such as “unique” and “individual”, the awful PR guff continues with a quote attributed to Matthew Sims, who is paid money to run Croydon BID, and who seriously says that everyone will be going on a “journey“.

Tall order: Giraffes. Thirty of them.

Sims said, “Croydon Stands Tall will take everyone on a journey from the moment it is launched, making art accessible for all, promoting health and happiness as we celebrate our people and culture.

“We are delighted to be working with Wild In Art on this exceptional project that will, we are sure, collectively bring communities of Croydon together as we stand tall.” Ain’t that just lovely?

According to further quotes in the BID press release, this endeavour is a “really exciting initiative”. Croydon residents will be encouraged to become “tourists in their own town”. It will “create thousands of smiles”.

“We can’t wait!” gushed someone called Charlie Langhorne, who admits to being the co-founder of Wild in Art.

They plan to drag children out into the streets “to individually paint 30 four-foot-tall giraffe which will form a secondary trail across the borough”.

Meanwhile, the town centre continues to suffer from the development blight of 10 years of uncertainty created by Westfield’s on-off-on-off-again redevelopment, that was backed every step of the way by… the people running Croydon BID.

Some good may come out of this all, though. Crisis, the national homelessness charity with its Skylight Centre on Surrey Street, hopes to raise £100,000 in an end-of-project auction.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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1 Response to You’re having a giraffe! BID’s art-washing effort for Culture year

  1. As I understand it those businesses supporting the BID are paying for ‘enhanced’ street cleaning. I’d like to see some evidence of this ‘enhancement’

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