Have you ever seen a husky wearing a firefighter costume? How about running shoes? What about painted with binary code?
Stop by Homer Babbidge Library and you just might. Last week, it debuted its winter exhibit: a collection of husky dog statues painted by various organizations and individuals on campus.
The dogs give a visual to the diversity of student organizations here on campus and have allowed some extremely talented individuals to showcase their art. Viewers will be able to vote for their favorite husky with slips located next to the exhibit. Both the artists and those casting ballots have a chance to win gift cards to the Adventure Park at Storrs or Insomnia cookies.
Viewers can check out the creative designs, including the Nursing School Class of 2017’s “Jonathan Goodnurse,” UCMB’s “Marching Husky,” and even “Jonathan the RA” by the Residence Hall Association.
The mind behind the creative project was Agata Harabasz, a UConn senior and president of the Bean Team, a group that works with the Benton Museum of Art to promote the arts on campus through campus projects, museum trips and art demonstrations.
Harabasz stands by the Husky statues. (Photo credit: Suzanne Zack)
She got the idea from the “CowParade,” where local artists and businesses paint cow statues that are displayed around town. The event occurred in West Hartford in 2007 and has been held in cities around the world. Since UConn already had larger painted dogs in the Co-Op and Student Union, she decided it would be a great idea to bring back the activity as a competition.
In September, student organizations submitted designs for their dog, which were then voted on by the Bean Team. The winning groups were given the statues to paint, which were bought from Cowpainters, a company based in Chicago, and funded by USG.
The event was a great opportunity for organizations to bond while advertising themselves on campus.
“As a club, we decided that participating in this contest would allow for team camaraderie and increase the scope of awareness in the UConn community of Club Track and Field,” said Christina Cotte, who designed and painted the group’s statue along with two other students, Harry Walton and Adam Gagnon.
Club Track and Field’s painted husky statue, on the left.
Chris Browne designed and painted the statue for WHUS, and was happy to be able to demonstrate his passion for the organization.
“I wanted to represent WHUS because of how much fun being a member of the radio station is,” he said. “I’ve been a DJ with the station since my sophomore year and its just full of really cool people and a lot of different opportunities for folk to express themselves.”
Harabasz also got in on the action- she painted the husky representing the Benton, the Beanery and the Bean Team.
Besides that, her favorite submission is the “Four Seasons” husky, painted by Patty Guardiani, a member of the library staff.
“My inspiration for my design comes from my drive into work everyday and enjoying the beautiful grounds at UConn,” said Guardiani about her design. Guardiani is an art lover with two dogs, so she couldn’t resist getting involved in a competition that combined the two.
Guardini shared this photo of her two dogs “wondering who the new dog in town is” before she painted it. (Photo credit: Patty Guardini)
Although the future of the dogs after the exhibit is not set in stone, the Bean Team and USG think it would be best if they were made part of the campus in some way.
“We’re going to ask each member or club which location on campus is favorable to them and try and get it in there,” said Harabasz.
Although she is a biology and psychology major, she joined the Bean Team to stay involved in the art community.
“I just wanted to share art with different people instead of just keeping it to myself,” she said.
Harabasz was happy to bring art, something she is very passionate about, to the broader campus community.
“Sometimes students neglect the power that art can have,” she said. “It can actually help with stress relief, and can be a way to express your creativity in a healthy way.”
Guardiani would agree.
“I can get lost for hours with my art projects and it is when I am my happiest,” she said.
Harabasz hopes that this exhibit will make students more aware of the Benton, what she calls a “cultural hub” where you can always come back and see something new.
The exhibition will be on display until February 19th– and this week will be the last week you can vote for your favorite with slips located near the display cases (Both the artists and those who vote have a chance to win prizes!) Make sure you don’t miss your chance to see it- and perhaps be inspired to check out the Benton Museum’s current exhibits or get involved in upcoming events!