story by Rhonda Crone, photos by Maliah Pinkleton, special to The City Wire
The colorful and beloved PIGShibition piggies went to market, bringing in $40,000 more in funding for the Ozark Literacy Association.
Kyle Kellams of KUAF hosted, as Dick Trammel auctioned off 11 of the 25 painted pig sculptures from PIGShibition, bringing the total of the yearlong fundraiser to $140,000. The event was held Thursday night at the Fayetteville Town Center.
“We put $60,000 of that back into the artist industry,” said Wendy Poole, Ozark Literacy Association’s Executive Director.
Poole has worked on the community art project that began March 2012, alongside Don Moore and co-chairs Tracy Beckers and Clarris Goodwin. The project’s goal to bring awareness to literacy issues and promote local artists was realized with the auction, but Poole says that doesn’t mean it’s finished.
“Stay tuned to PIGShibition in the future,” she said.
The now-famous pigs began as one clay sculpture created by artist Mike Davis Gutierrez. From that, Glynn Samuels of Madison County made fiberglass molds – 25 of them. Poole said the idea for statues of painted pigs came from Beckers, who was involved with a similar project in Chicago-with cows.
The pigs were all corralled in front of the Town Center last week, where they greeted all who entered Piggies Go to Market. Many of the familiar pigs like “Bountiful Fayetteville” by artist Rae Russell on display at the Clinton Museum and “Sweet Pea” by Margot Moulton on display at the Walton Arts Center Rose Garden found permanent homes.
“Road Hawg” by artist Laura Odom, sponsored by and on display at Lewis Brothers Automotive, brought in the highest bid of $4,000. “K.R.” by artist Karla Caraway that was on the Fayetteville Square pulled in the second highest amount with $2,600.
An impressive display of silent auction items were also donated, and Bill Dollar and Loose Change provided entertainment for the arty pig-loving crowd.