Oxford children’s artist creates first design for art trail

A children’s book author and artist has painted the first design for a charity art sculpture trail in Oxford.

David Melling, the creator of several children’s book series, has been painting for the OxTrail 2024 in Westgate Shopping Centre.

His ox, with golden dragon design, will be displayed at Sobell House Hospice until the event opens next summer.

Mr Melling said he had become involved with the charity after a few of his friends had received palliative care.

David Melling working on an ox sculpture
Image caption,The artist has chosen to create a golden dragon design on his sculpture

Shoppers and families have been able to see the artist at work at a pop-up space on the upper level of the shopping centre.

Sobell House Hospice, the organiser of OxTrail, has received submissions from local artists, groups and illustrators.

Mr Melling said: “Whatever I do, hopefully it would be sold off for an auction, so it’s got to be something decorative and appealing that people want to see down the line.”

The author said the recent passing of one of his friends made him “resonate” with Sobell House’s work.

Sobell House pop-up space at Westgate Shopping Centre
Image caption,The shortlisted oxen designs will be up for sponsor bids next year

Amelia Foster, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The point of OxTrail is to raise funds for Sobell House… but we also want to be part of our community and to give something back because the trail is going to be such a lovely, free activity next summer.

“It’s been a real privilege to be here and to spend time with David and see him in action.”

Ms Foster said during the submission process, http://ujiemisiapel.com/ which is now closed, the charity had received about 200 designs for the oxen.

More than 30 will form the trail.

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