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Sneak peak at the WIU Softball Rocky on Parade statue by Jan Clough
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One of the first Rocky on Parade statues from the first year (2013). Citizens Bank.
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From the 2015 Rocky on Parade event, Pretty Dog Bone sponsored by Scott & Ann Urch.
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Rocky on Parade Final Installation Revealed at Town & Gown Sept. 14

September 11, 2017

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MACOMB, IL -- When the Rocky on Parade public art project debuted at Western Illinois University in 2013, WIU Art Professor Bill Howard had no idea his concept for a town-gown art collaboration would grow to over 60 Col. Rock III statues throughout the Macomb and WIU campus communities (including one at the WIU-Quad Cities campus). On Thursday, Sept. 14, at the annual Celebrating Town & Gown event, the final installation of the Rocky on Parade project will be unveiled.

Celebrating Town & Gown will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Forum in downtown Macomb. Individuals interested in attending can register at or at the door on Sept. 14. The annual signature event, hosted by WIU President Jack Thomas and Macomb Mayor Mike Inman, serves as the official kickoff for WIU Homecoming.

During the event, the newest 27 statues of WIU's beloved Bulldog mascot, Col. Rock III, aka Rocky, will be introduced. The final dog in the series -- #27 -- will be known as The Cafe Dog, donated by the Kipling family. With that final donation, the total number of statues that will be featured on the Rocky Dog Walk throughout the campus and community is 64. The newest additions will be a part of the Homecoming parade Sept. 30, and will be installed after Homecoming weekend, which concludes Oct. 1. An updated Dog Walk map will be posted at

"The community support, the backing, for this project just blows my mind," Howard said following the 2015 "artists draft."

Local artists – WIU students, faculty, staff and community members showcasing their talents and creativity – have paired with University and community donors to paint the life-size (and a few larger-than-life statues) since the project's 2013 inception. Donors select their artist and statue rendering from the artist at a draft event. The dogs, which are installed on concrete pedestals, bear the name of the artist and the sponsor on a plaque, and stand guard outside numerous Macomb-area businesses and campus buildings. And in the age of social media, the dogs are often the focal point of selfies, in Facebook posts and throughout Twitter.

Howard said it has been "incredible" that business owners and residents have committed to making the public art project bigger and better each year. Sponsors pay $1,500 for life-size dogs or $3,000 for larger-than-life ("Alpha Dog") statues, with money raised going toward student scholarships in the WIU Department of Art.

"Our businesses and organizations are constantly asked to support a project or a program, yet over the last four years, 64 sponsors have stepped forward to support Rocky on Parade. That alone demonstrates how this community feels about WIU," said Billy Clow, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

WIU art major Jake Miller, a senior from Taylor Ridge, IL, was the first artist selected for the 2017 installment for his rendering of "Zombie Dog," for sponsor Western Illinois Detailing.

"It was a great honor being selected. When I first came to Macomb and saw the Rocky dogs, I thought they were awesome. Later, when I found out there was the possibility to apply to be an artist for one, I was ecstatic," he said. "To be chosen first out of 20-plus other artists was a pretty great feeling. Western Illinois Detailing has been incredible. They've given me full creative freedom."

WIU Art Professor Jan Clough, who is completing her second Rocky statue, this year for WIU Softball, said she designed the 2017 dog to appear as if he is made out of patch quilts.

"When I found out that my dog would be located near the softball field, it seemed meant to be. I decided to employ softball stitching to 'connect' the patches of fabric. My sponsors, Cathy Early and Holly Van Vlymen, requested that I also add the former Westerwinds "swoosh" design onto the dog as a nod to the rich history of Women's Softball at WIU," Clough explained. "Rocky on Parade is a wonderful partnership between the town of Macomb and Western Illinois University. I enjoy being reminded of that partnership as my travels about town reveal the various dogs."

Abbigale Matlick, a junior art major from Reynolds, IL, is the artist of "Botanic Manic" for Jimmy John's of Macomb. Her theme carries a special meaning.

"I came up with this theme because a little over a year ago my Aunt Marie Lou passed away from pancreatic cancer. She always loved Hawaiian flowers because it reminded her of when she went to Hawaii for vacation," Matlick said. "It means a great deal to me to become one of the many artists who were chosen to spread creativity among the community."

2017 sponsors and artists include:

Western Illinois Detailing (Seth Ritter) - Jake Miller
Chris and Cindy McDaniel - Robert Torres
WIU Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 169 - Christy Quigley
WIU Softball (Cathy Early/Holly Van Vlymen) - Jan Clough
Sharon & Halle Evans - Tyler Hennings
Matt, Stacy, Nick, James & John Bierman - Dan Schmidt
McDonald's East (Blake Kosanovich) - Ashley Derry
Marcus Schupp - Corey Larry
McDonald's West (Blake Kosanovich) - Deb Lutz
Macomb Fire Department Local 3053 - Steven House
Citizens Bank, div. of Morton Community Bank - Beth Mahr
Jimmy John's (Ric Cortes)* - Abbigale Matlick
City of Macomb - Veronique Kunca
McDonough Power Cooperative - Kara Kwak
Chubby's (Tammy Yates) - Kryndle Schobert
Cindy Carey-Butler, EA & Greg Butler, CPA - Jasmine Woods
Regional Office of Education No. 26 - Addison Lawson (winner of kids' coloring contest) & Ian Shelly
Woodrum Automotive (Mike Woodrum) - Jeannie Galioto
Sports Corner (Dan & Linda O'Neill) - Kelsey Ballard
United Community Bank - Vanessa Coleman
Ryan, Beth, Jacob & Sophie Hansen* - Jalyn Brissey
WIU Foundation - Becca Machannelli
RPTA/Horn Field Campus - Gracie Boehl
Scott Brouette - Edgar Rodriguez
The Coker & Rhoads Families - Tammy Killian
Dave & Connie Garner - Bill Howard
The Kipling Family* - Duke Oursler & Mason Lyons

*Alpha Dog Sponsors

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