University News

Rocky on Parade

January 23, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- A dog walk throughout Macomb will take on a whole new meaning beginning in October 2013.

Inspired by successful projects like Cows on Parade in Chicago, Western Illinois University Art Professor Bill Howard conceived the idea for Rocky On Parade, a public art project that will feature life-size fiberglass bulldogs decorated by area artists. Visitors can pick up a map at the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce and other locations to follow the "dog walk" to view the Rocky sculptures.

On Oct. 3, at the annual WIU Alumni Association's Town and Gown Celebration, 12 Rocky sculptures will be debuted, along with their sponsors, and located throughout the City of Macomb and WIU campus, as part of the inaugural Rocky on Parade project sponsored by the WIU Department of Art.

The members of the Rocky on Parade Committee [Howard, Julie Mahoney and Duke Oursler, College of Fine Arts and Communication Development Director Mick Cumbie, Alumni Programs Assistant Director Angeline Harpman and Facilities Maintenance Director Scott Coker]
are currently seeking artists - and sponsors - for the project. Using a design similar to WIU's iconic Rocky sculpture, located near Hanson Field, 12 bulldogs will be cast in fiberglass, decorated by regional artists, mounted on a concrete base and displayed at various locations throughout campus and in the City of Macomb.

"This project celebrates the University's traditions, strengthens the unity of campus and community, contributes to the economic vitality and quality of life in Macomb and supports student scholarships," Howard explained.

Area artists, student groups or businesses interesting in submitting design proposals for these "larger than life" bulldogs are invited to present their drawings (up to three) by March 25. The Call for Artists application, which includes specifications and criteria, may be downloaded at There is no fee to submit a design proposal. The Rocky on Parade committee will review all artist applications and select 12 designs best suited to the program. The sculptures will be unveiled at the Town and Gown event, and will be installed at the sponsors' location of choice following WIU Homecoming Oct. 12.

In addition to the current Call for Artists, the Rocky on Parade committee is seeking sponsors. A sponsorship - $1,500 (30" x 50" x 24" bulldog) or $3,000 (44" x 70" x 33" bulldog) - funds the cost of creating a bulldog as well as scholarships for WIU students. Once the artists have been chosen, the sponsors will select and work with the artist or artist group of their choice to either use the original submission to develop a new design for their bulldog. The order of sponsor selection of artists is on a first come, first serve basis. A commemorative plaque will be placed on each bulldog to acknowledge the sponsor and its artist. Sponsorship information, including a downloadable sponsorship packet, is available at

"We are excited about sponsoring a bulldog for this unique project. It's a fantastic town-gown partnership that works to further promote our community, our University and our outstanding regional artists, while helping to support student scholarships," said WIU Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter. "I look forward to reviewing the design submissions and selecting an artist for the WIU Foundation Rocky."

For more information on becoming a Rocky on Parade sponsor, contact Mick Cumbie at (309) 298-2620 or For more information on being a Rocky on Parade artist, contact Stacy Dorethy at (309) 298-1549. General information on the project is available at

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Office of University Relations