Have you heard of Cows on Parade? It is one of the world’s largest art events where artists decorated Plexiglas statues of cows and then all of the cows are exhibited in various locations throughout different cities. Well Western is bringing this idea to campus and the Macomb community. But instead of cows, Rocky is going to be the one on display!
With the help of the WIU art department and the Alumni Association, WIU will be having their own “Rocky on Parade.” I spoke to Bill Howard, an art professor here at Western and one of the organizers of this event. The planning process was pretty simple. There will be 12 bulldogs cast in fiberglass to be decorated by 12 different artists. An open-call was sent out for artists to come up with different ways to decorate the bulldogs. From that, 12 artists will be chosen to be the ones to decorate a Rocky bulldog. Then, 12 sponsors will get to pick what artist they want to have decorate their Rocky. But what are the sponsors and how do you become one? The Rocky on Parade committee sent invitations to participate in this event to many different businesses in Macomb. The invitation gave businesses or individuals a choice of sponsoring a Big Dog, with a $1500 donation, or an Alpha Dog, with a $3000 donation. Some of this money will be used for the event, but a majority of it will be used to support art scholarships for incoming freshman art students.
Over the summer, the 12 artists will each decorate a Rocky bulldog. The decorated bulldogs will then be unveiled at the Alumni Association’s annual Celebrating Town & Gown Event, the unofficial kick-off to Western’s Homecoming, at The Forum. The bulldogs will also be shown off during the Homecoming parade and then later at halftime of the football game, if all goes well. The Rocky bulldogs will then be put in their permanent homes, supplied by their sponsors, after Homecoming week.
Bill Howard and his colleagues on the Rocky on Parade committee are very excited about this new project. “It will be a biannual event from now on,” he says. Every part of the process of the event is meant to be fun and exciting for not just the university, but also the community.
I believe that this event will really get the community more involved in what the university is doing and what better time to kick off this new program than Homecoming! It will really build school spirit among the people of Macomb and pump up everyone for the big game! This will add so much WIU pride to our town!
If you would like to see this pride in our town, you will be able to take a tour around Macomb with your own dog walk map beginning next October! For more information, visit http://www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=10413