Thousands of children create huge digital artwork inspired by animals in museum collections for The Wild Escape

Children and artists parade their artworks inspired by Matisse’s The Snail at Tate Modern as part of The Wild Escape © Hydar Dewachi
Children and artists parade their artworks inspired by Matisse’s The Snail at Tate Modern as part of The Wild Escape © Hydar Dewachi

Art Fund in partnership with WWF, the RSPB, English Heritage and National Trust, will unveil the artwork as part of The Wild Escape on Earth Day, Saturday 22 April, working with 524 UK museums to highlight the nation’s biodiversity loss.

This will be the culmination of the biggest ever UK museums collaboration, with thousands of children participating in hundreds of events across every nation over the Earth Day weekend. The Wild Escape is one of the largest museum projects ever funded by Arts Council England.  

As a highlight of The Wild Escape, Art Fund are releasing an epic-scale digital landscape: an imaginary world specially commissioned from BAFTA-winning games studio, PRELOADED, which features children’s images of animals – the largest ever artwork made with children. Children can add their animals, sharing their images with the world, and completing the picture by June 2023 by logging in via 

Leading British artists have joined The Wild Escape campaign including Rana Begum, Elizabeth Butterworth, Monster Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller, Es Devlin, Andy Holden, Lindsey Mendick, Heather Phillipson, Thomas J Price, Mollie Ray, Tai Shani, Yinka Shonibare, Bob and Roberta Smith, FKA Twigs, Mark Wallinger, each contributing their own interpretations of animals in museum collections.  

Special Wild Escape family events will be taking place over the weekend of Earth Day in museums across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to encourage children to create their own animal artworks to upload into this newly imagined digital landscape, including nature trails, wild flower plantings, curated museum tours, artist-led activities, animal sculpture and puppet workshops, animal art demonstrations and parades, storytelling and bird watching, all inspired by their collections.  

Families can also visit the National Trust's 500 plus properties to find inspiration. Using the houses and buildings, gardens and grounds, open spaces and countryside, and extensive collections, visitors can find animals inside and outside to help them create their animal art. 

Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund, said: 'The Wild Escape is a real demonstration of the power of our museums to work together for the benefit of their communities. Beyond the bricks and mortar of buildings, The Wild Escape sheds new light on the stories told by our world famous collections, and shows how relevant and vital these stories are. Never has there been a more important time for all of us to campaign for and protect our precious wildlife.'

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: 'We’re passionate about supporting young people of all ages to be creative, no matter where they live, where they go to school and where they spend their free time. That’s why I’m proud to have supported the ambitious Wild Escape project with a National Lottery Project Grant of £890,000 – the largest we’ve ever given to a museums project.'

The Wild Escape makes us see our nation’s collections in a new way that highlights the importance of the UK’s wildlife and shows how museums can help inspire creative action to tackle the climate crisis. I look forward to visiting Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Earth Day to see first-hand the impact this UK-wide project has had locally on children and young people.'

The Wild Escape is made possible with support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants, with additional support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Kusuma Trust, Foyle Foundation and a group of generous individuals and trusts. 

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