Big Pig Gig hams it up for the world

The Big Pig Gig is back – just in time for the World Choir Games this summer, Cincinnati will have a chance to share a special public art installation centered on the humble pig as an icon of the city’s heritage. Beginning in May and throughout the summer, visitors to “Porkopolis” and locals alike can delight in lovable, giant, colorful custom designed fiberglass pigs installed throughout downtown.

The Gig is an ArtWorks project in partnership with C-Change Class Six and promises to be a highlight to the summer of 2012. The last time Cincinnati got its pig on was in 2000 when more than 400 one-of-a-kind pig designs graced downtown streets. According to ArtWorks that installation brought an estimated $170 million to the local economy. Now that the Gig is back, look for the 2012 installation to please crowds and showcase the city to visitors from all over the world.

The Big Pig Gig is, of course, a tribute to Cincinnati’s history as a major center for hog packing in the 1800s. “The pig is an important part of Cincinnati’s history,” says Carol Buckhout, marketing and development for ArtWorks. “The first reaction people have to the pigs is to smile.” After the Gig, pigs continue to represent Cincinnati as a fun, friendly and exciting place to be.

The pigs will be displayed from Music Hall to Fountain Square – and everywhere in between – clustered around the World Choir Games. The installation is set for display throughout the summer, and there are plans to place some of the pigs along the route for The Flying Pig Marathon May 6. “People should expect a wonderful range of creativity and wit with the designs,” says Buckhout. “Some will take their inspiration from the countries represented at the World Choir Games.”

One of the best things about the Big Pig Gig is that everyone can participate. Whether you’re an artist, sponsor or admirer everyone will have the opportunity to become part of what was in 2000 one of the most successful public art installations in the nation, according to ArtWorks. Sponsors are still needed, and varying sponsorship levels are available depending on the level of support you can provide. In addition, ArtWorks can match sponsors with artists, allowing sponsors to choose from designs already submitted.

“The Big Pig Gig is an opportunity for Cincinnatians to ham it up, get creative and get involved in public art,” says Buckhout.

Do Good:

•    Sponsor an artist or school. ArtWorks can match sponsors with artists.

•    Design a pig. Artists have until January 23 to submit design proposals.

•    Spread the word.

•    Go see the pigs!

By Deidra Wiley Necco
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