Bringing local community art groups together in a collaborative art project, Dudley Zoo and Castle brings you ‘Spotter Otter’!


Over the past few months, eight otter sculptures have been colourfully decorated, inspired by a variety of themes including the zoo, wildlife, the Black Country and pop culture.
They spent February half term here at DZC, before being installed at various venues around the Dudley borough. They will then return to the zoo for the summer holidays.
At the end of the season, the otters will be auctioned off to raise funds for two ‘otterly’ amazing charities – The UK Wild Otter Trust and The Himalayan Otter Network.

Locations around Dudley Borough

  • Otter 1 – Ollie – Dudley Zoo and Castle
  • Otter 2 – Oswald – Dudley Library
  • Otter 3 – Rashmi – Red House Glass Cone
  • Otter 4 – Ray Li – Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre
  • Otter 5 – Flora – Himley Hall
  • Otter 6Saga Dawa – The Dudley Archive
  • Otter 7The Old Fossil – Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust
  • Otter 8 – Some like it Hot(ter) – The Village Hotel, Dudley

Click here to view map

Otter 1 – Ollie
Otter 4 – Ray Li
Otter 2 – Oswald
Otter 5 – Flora
Otter 3 – Rashmi
Otter 6 – Saga Dawa
Otter 7 – The Old Fossil
Otter 8 – Some like it Hot(ter)

Otter 1 – Ollie

Artists: Designed by Alisha Griffiths. Painted by Alisha Griffiths, Abbie Wilkinson & Hollie Chidley

Art Group: Halesowen College Level 3, Year 1, Art and Design learners

About the Artists: Halesowen College ­­­learners competed in creating designs for the otter with a shortlisted 3 being sent off for approval. The winning student, Alisha Griffiths and runners up, Abbie Wilkinson and Hollie Chidley, then collaborated on painting Ollie the Otter.

About the Design: The animals at Dudley Zoo and Castle provided the inspiration. The artists wanted a fun and vibrant outcome, with the different colours of the animals and prints working in harmony.

Otter 2 – Oswald

Artists: Dorothy Danks, Mark Ashman, Peter Chilton, Dereck Noakes, Kelvin Vincent, Christina Philpott, Hazel Cooksey, Sue Powers, Tim Jarvis

Art Group: Learning4Life

About the Artists: The design was developed from sketches that were created by learners at Learning4Life. Learning4Life provides adults in our community the opportunity to learn a new skill and meet like-minded people.

About the Design: The original idea worked with the industrial Black Country and the rewilding of the area after the decline of heavy industry. As the design progressed other ideas developed and adapted the original idea.

Otter 3 – Rashmi

Artists: Colin Webb, Carol Webb, Fiona Hubbard, Jasmin Malik, Jessica Webb, John Bridge, Kevin Marshall, Laura Bowly, Margaret Millership, Mary Morris , Mike Lennon, Ruth Durrant, Sharon Berry, Sue Bridge, Helen Harms (d)

Art Group: West Smethwick Park ‘Happy Painters’ Group

About the Artists: Happy Painters are a new art group, formed at West Smethwick Pavilion in April 2023. The group was mentored by The Art Yard volunteers: Harry Bloomer JP FRSA, and Greg Broad.

About the Design: We chose the name Rashmi, which is Nepali for ‘Ray of Light’. The otter design links to glass lighthouse lenses manufactured by Chance’s Glass of Smethwick. It was the Chance family who donated the land forming West Smethwick Park. The national flags link to the countries around the Himalayan mountains and the Black Country.

Otter 4 – Ray Li

Artists: Isabelle Nightingale, Grace Nightingale and Chris Nightingale

Art Group: The Art Yard

About the Artists: Designed and decorated by the Nightingale family from Wolverhampton

About the Design: This design is based on nature, particularly the Asian short-clawed otter and the Himalayas they call home. The otter features traditional dress wear, the Himalayan mountains and the Asian short-clawed otters’ IUCN status: Vulnerable to extinction.

Otter 5 – Flora

Artists: Phil Jennings & Heather Wilson

Art Group: Visual Artists Collective

About the Artists: The Visual Artists Collective are a group of six artists who exhibit in and around the Midlands. They create artwork in a range of media, including acrylic and oil painting, as well as sculpture and printing. The otter design was created by Phil Jennings and painted by Phil Jennings and Heather Wilson.

About the Design: The concept of this design is about temperance and hope.
Encased by nature, a central void is lit by a single candle. The void is a metaphor for loss, with the candle representing the hope that can light the darkness.

Otter 6 – Saga Dawa

Artists: Gregory Broad

Art Group: The Art Yard

About the Artists: Greg is a volunteer curator representing ‘The Art Yard’, Cradley Heath. He worked on the project at his home art studio at Smethwick.

About the Design: The design concept for the otter came from the colours of the Tibetan prayer flags. Dawa means ‘month’ in Tibetan and ‘Saga’ is the name of a star prominent in the sky during the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar when ‘Saga Dawa’ is observed.

Otter 7 – The Old Fossil

Artists: Designed by Phillip Mackie, painted by Heather Wilson

Art Group: Back Room Art

About the Artists: Back Room Art is a group of twenty-one adult learners who attend weekly lessons to improve their fine art skills.

The names of the adult learners are: Philip Mackie, Emily Vernon, Penny Buncle, Rachel King, Sarah Clark, Paulina Aproano, Debbie Ballance, Heather Weston, Liz Wright, Michael Saunders, Claire Johnson, Ruth Sterling, Angela Green, Joanne Weston, Gary Whitehouse, Norma Glazebrook, Rachael Hubball, Liz Brown, Julia Wadeley, Chris Carrington and Jo Palmer.

About the Design: The design is inspired by the surrounding areas of Dudley Zoo and its historical reference to fossils and the ‘Dudley bug’ (trilobite).

Otter 8 – Some like it Hot(ter)

Artists: Terry Glazebrook

Art Group: Dudley Society of Artists

About the Artists: Terry Glazebrook is the Chairman of Dudley Society of Artists.

About the Design: A pun on the famous film featuring Marilyn Monroe – ‘Some like it Hot’

We are raising money!

The UK Wild Otter Trust
A charity helping otters across the UK and Ireland. They help to rescue, rehabilitate and release back into the wild, injured otters and abandoned otter cubs.

The Himalayan Otter Network
Working across six different countries in the Himalayan region, this charity helps to protect otters in their natural habitat. This includes the Asian short-clawed otters species, which we have here at DZC.