Feb. 18, 2004
If this guy went to get fitted for a suit, the tailor would just chuckle.
C,mon…seriously…what do you do with a chest that measures 65 inches, a waist that comes in at 45, an inseam of 44, and biceps that push 15 each?
This guy, however, isn’t your normal run-of-the-mill college senior. He’s Herky and he’ll soon be parading around the greater Iowa City community with a bunch of look-a-likes.
“We couldn’t be more excited. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s Herky. Pair those traits up with the creativity of the artists who will take the blank canvas and turn it into something truly remarkable, and I think you have the makings of an activity that will be very special for our community.”
Josh Shamberger of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau
The first two of an anticipated 75 statues to be featured in the Herky on Parade program arrived at the Coral Ridge Mall Tuesday and were greeted with smiles by organizers of the public art project that will take the Hawkeye spirit to the streets of Iowa City and
Coralville beginning in mid-May.
“We couldn’t be more excited. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s Herky. Pair those traits up with the creativity of the artists who will take the blank canvas and turn it into something truly remarkable, and I think you have the makings of an activity that will be very special for our community,” said Josh Shamberger of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The ICCCVB is teaming up with the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the cities of Iowa City and Coralville on the staging of the “Parade.” The goals of the program are straitforward: Have some fun, create some excitement, generate tourism in the greater Iowa City community during the spring, summer and fall of 2004, and generate awareness of the 75th anniversary of the UI’s Kinnick Stadium.
Shamberger said local businesses and individuals have already committed the financial resources to sponsor more than 50 statues. Local and regional artists have submitted more than 100 designs for review by the committee.
If all goes according to plan, “Elvis Herky” will make an appearance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 28, when Coach Steve Alford’s Iowa Hawkeyes entertain Minnesota. Sara Brown, an Iowa City artist who participated in the “Overalls All Over” program in Cedar Rapids three years ago, has been commissioned by the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to take a “naked” Herky and transform him into a look-a-like to the rock ‘n roll legend.
“‘Elvis Herky’ will likely become our travelling Herky. I suspect he’ll spend quite a few days and nights on the road during the next two, three, four months promoting the Parade to friends and fans of the Hawkeyes and art across the state,” said Rick Klatt, associate athletic director for external affairs at the UI.
The statues are being manufactured by Prewitt Fiberglass near Gibbon, Neb., a company with a history of providing art for activities like Herky on Parade. It is currently manufacturing the final 20 statues of a 200-piece project that will hit the streets of Lexington, Ky., prior to this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Need some details? Here are a few: Each Herky stands 74 inches tall from the tip of Herky’s left foot to the highest point of his right fist. From Herky’s base to the tip of his nose measures 45 inches. Herky’s eyeballs are five inches wide and 4 1/2 inches tall. And, his left shoe is a mere 15 inches in length.
Each statue will be affixed to a concrete base likely to measure as much as four feet wide, five feet long and up to eight inches tall.
“He’s robust. He’s excited. He’s proud. And, there’s no doubt he’s going to be a hit with young and old alike,” said Klatt.
‘Elvis Herky’ will make his first public appearance at the Iowa-Minnesota men’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 28.
Klatt said plans are being finalized to have one of the Herky’s on public display at the Iowa Children’s Museum inside Coral Ridge Mall from start to finish. “That will be fun for everyone to see the process an artist goes through to take an idea off a sheet of paper and apply it onto a life-size statue,” he said.
Organizers are also working with staff at the three junior high schools and four high schools in the area in an effort to engage talented young artists in the program.
That Herky — along with “Elvis” — will be the only designs that will be public. The remainder will be kept from public view until the Parade officially hits the streets in early May.
Want to volunteer? Or, perhaps you’re an interested artist?
Or interested in sponsoring a Herky in the Parade?
Call the UI Sports Marketing Office at(319) 335-9431