11/01/04 — Pigs are party animals at arts council gala

View Archive

Pigs are party animals at arts council gala

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on November 1, 2004 1:57 PM

It didn't take long to see what the focus of the Arts Council's gala was Saturday night.

As guests arrived at the art center, they saw pig sculptures everywhere. Seven were lined up side-by-side in the front fountain. One awaited them at the entrance. And a few more could be seen inside the center, including the Tuxedo Pig, which was placed near the Middle Street Moods band.

It didn't stop there. Papier-mâché pigs by students from different high schools in Wayne County adorned the tables. Two paintings of "Pig-casso," a pig holding a paint palette, hung on the canvas used to drape one of the downstairs walls.

The "Three Little Pigs" papier-mâché sculpture was directly inside the entrance.

The occasion was a gala party to celebrate the conclusion of the two-year "When Pigs Fly" public art project and fund-raiser.

The gala was organized by Elizabeth Woodard and Betsy Neese and drew favorable comments from people who attended.

Though it has not yet been renovated, the first floor was made to look glamorous. A large ice sculpture of a pig wearing a top hat was placed in front of the center of a large canvas drape. Black and red balloons filled the room and tables were covered with black cloths. Large vases filled with colorful flowers added to the decor, and fuchsia pink tulle was draped from the balcony.

People attending the party were in good spirits and, from time to time, guests could be seen moving to the music.

It was a happy event celebrating a successful project.

Though there is not yet a final tally of the amount of money raised, it is a considerable amount, said Alice Strickland, executive director.

And while it was nice to have a successful fund-raiser, she and "When Pigs Fly" chairman Phyllis Woodard said the project did something more important than bring in money.

It raised awareness.

One of the goals was to reach out to people who normally are not a part of the Arts Council's activities and to show how important the Arts Council and the arts are.

Teachers and students from across the county got actively involved in the project, creating proposed designs for the sculptures and participating in other projects as well. Local artists painted the pigs, and businesses paid sponsorship money and offered locations for the sculptures.

The project "touched everyone," Mrs. Strickland said. "People who didn't know about us loved the pigs and made trips to see them and take pictures of them."

The Goldsboro Travel and Tourism Authority has asked to take one of the pigs to a travel and tourism conference.

Twenty-eight pigs have been painted, one is still being painted and an artist is being sought to paint the 13th pig.

Because the sculptures have been so well received, they will go back into the community for a while longer so people can continue to enjoy them, Mrs. Woodard said.