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D.C. Artists Create Party Animals

January 31, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) _ They used wildly decorated statues of cows to celebrate Chicago, the city of stockyards. How better then to celebrate Washington than with statues of elephants and donkeys?

Local artists are being called on to take flights of fancy on 200 of the fiberglass creatures to be erected throughout District of Columbia from April through September.

``The idea has been a year in the making,″ Dorothy McSweeny, chairwoman of the District’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities. ``We saw other cities doing it, and they were wildly popular.″

She said she hopes the ``Party Animals″ exhibit will creates the type of stir produced a few years ago by Chicago’s ``Cows on Parade″ of such capricious animals as ``Moollennium″ and ``Planet Chicowgo″ and ``On the Mooove.″

Washington’s political animals will be fiberglass cemented on heavy concrete bases. They are 4 1/2 feet tall and 5 feet long. Each artist is to receive a $1000 stipend and $200 in supplies.

``Some of the designs are wonderful. There’s one that’s decorated as `God Bless America’; another one is full of flowers and cherry blossoms,″ McSweeny said. Once the exhibit closes, the arts commission will auction off the works at an event dubbed the ``Raucous Caucus,″ just before the midterm elections in November.

German-born American caricaturist Thomas Nast, famous for his biting political cartoons, made the donkey the symbol of the Democrats and the elephant of the Republicans in the late 19th century. He died in 1902.


On the Net: D.C. Commission on Arts and the Humanities: http://dcarts.dc.gov/main.shtm

Party Animals (to be available in by Feb. 6): http://www.partyanimals.org

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