The Stampede is Gaining Momentum

Hopewell Valley News
Published on Friday, January 17

Submitting_PacketIn September, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council formally launched its first initiative, the Stampede, which will pair artists of all ages and media with local sponsors to produce creatively decorated oxen.

In September, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council formally launched its first initiative, the Stampede, which will pair artists of all ages and media with local sponsors to produce creatively decorated oxen that will roam the Valley in August 2014. The culmination of this effort will be a gala auction in January 2015, where these works of art will be auctioned off in a community celebration of the arts.

Thanks to the generosity of five founding sponsors, Capital Health, Hopewell Valley Community Bank, Morehouse Engineering, Betty Wold Johnson and an anonymous donor, the Arts Council held several events last fall in local homes of interest and business venues, to court sponsors and call the Valley’s artists to the cause.

To date, the Arts Council has enjoyed a tremendous turnout, with over 60 artists registering to participate and with local businesses, organizations, and families committing to sponsor over 50 oxen. A stampede is under way!

The undecorated, “naked” oxen will begin arriving in the Valley next month, with the first oxen being delivered to each Hopewell Valley school, allowing students from elementary through high school to participate in this public arts initiative.

In late spring, the Arts Council will hold an event to team, or “yoke” each sponsor with a local artist. Artists will have through June to complete their work, and in late summer, herds of decorated oxen will roam throughout the Valley.

In March, the Arts Council will collaborate with the larger community to “crowd sponsor” an ox, and the Pennington Quality Market will generously donate a percentage of sales that day to sponsor another. Join the celebration!The mission of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is to nurture a vibrant and involved local community through the arts. Its goal is to cultivate creative exploration and to showcase the Valley’s artists through events and activities that demonstrate artistic vision in the visual, performing, culinary and literary arts. By defining the arts in the most expansive terms, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council encourages everyone to participate in celebrating art in the everyday.

It’s not too late to participate, as either a Sponsor or an Artist. To learn more, visit www.hvartscouncil.org.

Arts Council to Stampede into Hopewell

By Mercerspace.com November 15th, 2013

Hopewell Valley Arts Council to make mark on town with decorated oxen

Next fall, Hopewell and Pennington will be invaded by oxen — yarn-covered, painted, and even abstract looking oxen.

The newly-created Hopewell Valley Arts Council is planning a “stampede” as its first major fundraising effort. The plan is to have local artists compete for the chance to decorate large, fiberglass oxen provided by the council.

So where does money come in?

Sponsors will pledge money to have oxen dedicated in their name, along with some influence over the ox’s fate. Many of the oxen will be sold at auction, and the money will go to helping the fledgling arts council off the ground.

Meanwhile, some of the oxen will be permanent fixtures in the neighborhood, the first mark by a new nonprofit group intended as a a resource to connect local artists of all kinds.

It might sound far-fetched as a moneymaking idea. But cities around the world, such as Lambertville and Saratoga Springs, N.Y. have tried the same approach, reportedly with fundraising success.

“Cows have been done, dogs, starfish. You name it they’ve all been done,” said Linda Bradshaw, who is leading the arts aspect of the fundraising effort.

Bradshaw is a retired art teacher who taught for 26 years at Hopewell Elementary, Colgate, and Bear Tavern. She is also a seasoned watercolorist who has found time in retirement to paint every day.

Organizers said the oxen, once they are decorated, will be displayed all over the area, including on Broad Street in Hopewell and on Main Street in Pennington. Some may be clustered in herds, while others will stand alone. Expect to see them anywhere—on the side of the road, in the center of fields, or right in front of town storefronts.

Bradshaw drew the original oxen sketches that later became a sculpture that can be reproduced repeatedly and provided to many different artists. The first sculpture, still undecorated, has been nicknamed Ollie. He was introduced to locals riding on a float in the Hopewell Valley High School homecoming parade on Friday night.

Ollie is a daunting figure, standing at 8 feet long, 5 feet high, and nearly 3 feet wide. He was designed to fit through a doorway, organizers said. Ollie was cast in fiberglass, weighs 75 pounds, and has steel reinforcement in his horns and joints. L-brackets in his feet protrude out, so he can be secured to a base, making it harder to tip him over when sculptures of his likeness are placed all over town.

After Bradshaw sketched the initial oxen design, it was sent to the Theme Factory in Philadelphia, a props shop that specializes in custom processes such as vacu-forming, rotocasting, foam and other resin casting, mold creation, sculpting and woodworking. The shop says it can use virtually any form of material to produce the desired product.

For the stampede project, the Theme Factory constructed a mold out of sheets of foam to create Ollie and the rest of the oxen for the stampede.

The fabricators also drew on photos of real oxen to create Ollie. The sculpture is marked by such details as veins running across Ollie’s musculature to make him look sturdy and true to life. Bradshaw said the oxen design has “spunk.” The ox has a little grin, and a cocked head.

When the member of the arts council met Bruce Konefsky, president of The Theme Factory, they knew it was a match made in heaven. Konefsky has a background perfecting slightly off-beat art assignments.

Konefsky’s parents started the Theme Factory in 1978, providing themed sets for parties held by Fortune 500 companies. For instance, one set has a Philadelphia theme, and includes Betsy Ross’s house and Ben Franklin’s print shop. Konefsky has a long history in theater arts, including set design.

Konefsky may be one the few people in the world who would immediately understand what the ox project is all about. He had worked on similar projects in the past, including the “Miles of Mules” art installations in Bucks County, PA, a nearly identical project except with a different animal.

Konefsky dedicated a solid block of time to creating the ox for the arts council. It was six weeks of carving, prepping, molding, he said. He gave a lot of thought to how to portray an ox and what its most notables features are.

“An ox is a beast of burden. It’s not mean. It’s not whimsical. It has a sense of dignity; it works hard. It’s a statement about labor. The ox continues to work for you day in and day out whenever you need it. So it’s not really frowning; it’s not smiling; it’s not angry or sad. It’s durable, sensible, and, dignified,” he said.

When the stampede of oxen are ready, artists will compete to leave their own mark on the sculptures. They will each receive a $750 stipend for the project. Bradshaw said she expects the designs to run the gamut.

“I hope each participant will create an artful, dynamic oxen. It’s flexible. You can certainly dress him,” she said.

That’s welcome news for a group of knitters that has already said it wants to knit ollie some clothes. The group says it would wrap the yarn around him loosely, so that after some rain fall, the clothing would shrink and the sculpture would be dressed dapperly. The arts council is also open to highly abstract designs from artists who can prove their expertise.

Students will be included in the effort. The arts council is giving each of the schools a chance for students to compete to decorate one of the oxen.

So, why oxen?

It all dates back to a bet on the 1987 Super Bowl between the Broncos and the Giants. The governors of Colorado and New Jersey bet a steak dinner, and Colorado lost.

“Well, after the Giants won, hence the name, the Colorado governor sent a whole steer, fer (sic) goodness sakes. Rather than treat his cronies in the State House to steaks, the New Jersey governor did the right thing and gave him to Howell Farm,” the story goes, as rendered by Howell Living History Farm.

Bradshaw also said the symbolism of the ox made it a good face for this project.

“To the committee, the oxen symbolized a sturdy, steadfast, purposeful life, and we feel very strongly that we want Hopewell Valley Arts Council, and particularly the stampede, to move along that path,” she said.

After the oxen go on display next fall, they may need to undergo some repairs to recover them from any stresses, such as weather, before they are auctioned off. Another potential stress organizers are wary of is vandalism.

“There’s always a concern with outdoor scupture that it will sulfer not only from weather but also the vageries of the town,” Bradshaw said.

So far, the project has firm financial footing, according to Randee Tengee, an organizer. It already has five donors who have pledged $25,000, she said. That includes Capital Health, Hopewell Valley Community Bank, Betty Wold Johnson, Morehouse Engineering, and one anonymous donor.

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council, a brand new organization, says it is dedicated to celebrating art in the everyday.

Hopewell welcomes the year of the ox – A painted stampede to behold

Sky and Liza Morehouse, pictured in front of Morehouse Engineering, greet Olly, the first fiberglass ox to arrive in Hopewell Valley. (Photo by Tom Grimes)
Sky and Liza Morehouse, pictured in front of Morehouse Engineering, greet Olly, the first fiberglass ox to arrive in Hopewell Valley. (Photo by Tom Grimes)

By Times of Trenton Editorial Board
The Times, Trenton
on November 18, 2013

The legendary Paul Bunyan had a sidekick of unusual hue. But even Babe the Blue Ox will have nothing on the drove of oxen set to roam through the Hopewell Valley.

Life-size replicas of the traditional beasts of burden will become feasts of color and creativity for artists signing on to Hopewell Valley Stampede art-awareness project.

The project echoes others in cities and regions around the world that have tapped into local talent to illustrate a symbol of the community. In Bucks County, for instance, hundreds of mules were decorated and placed along the Delaware Canal towpath where mules once hauled cargo-laden barges.

For Hopewell Valley, in a nod to the region’s agrarian past that depended so much on plow animals, organizers chose oxen.

The project is now it the preliminary stage. Artists have until January to submit designs for the 8-foot long white fiberglass canvases. Based on those designs, each artist will be paired with a sponsor who has agreed to subsidize the cost of the creation.

The finished herd of about five dozen oxen will then be distributed through fields, schools and business centers over the summer and fall. In January 2015, they will be auctioned off to raise funds for the newly formed Hopewell Valley Arts Council.

Proceeds of the sales will fund future projects and events to increase awareness and appreciation of the arts in Hopewell Valley, including the visual, culinary, literary and performing arts, Lisa Coryell reported in The Times. The group is also looking to help fund a permanent center for artistic pursuits.

It’s a wonderful way to involve –- and unite — the communities of Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington.

Just imagine the surprise of coming across a massive ox with painted pelt on the familiar way to work or school or seeing a decorated beast standing sentry in a field.

The sudden displays of imagination represent more than just a creative way of raising funds. They demonstrate that art need not be confined to a museum or gallery, withheld in a frame or stood up on a pedestal, to be considered art.

In this region, we are fortunate to have the works of Seward Johnson and other sculptors springing up unexpectedly along the road to Grounds for Sculpture.

Some may sniff that the enormous statues representing famous paintings – or a drove of colorful creatures — do not constitute art. That is for the beholder to decide.

We’re looking forward to beholding the stampede of oxen heading this way.

Fiberglass oxen will roam Hopewell Valley this summer as part of art awareness project

By Lisa Coryell/For The Times The Times, Trenton
on November 04, 2013

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP — Area artists eager to transform life-size fiberglass oxen into masterpieces for the Hopewell Valley Stampede art-awareness project this week learned the ground rules for their participation: let your creativity run wild but make sure your finished project is durable, safe and non-confrontational.

“This isn’t the time for religious, political or sexual representations,” artist Carol Lipson reminded the artists who attended an informational meeting about the project this week. “Remember this is a public arts display.”

The call to artists comes two weeks after the arrival of “Ollie,” the first of dozens of fiberglass oxen that will be decorated and auctioned in a fundraiser to benefit the newly formed Hopewell Valley Arts Council. With the prototype beast of burden ready for viewing, some 50 artists attended a meeting at Hopewell Valley Vineyards to hear what’s involved.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Arts Council co-chair Betsy Ackerman told the group. “You guys are the ones who are going to make this happen.”

Lipson, who is overseeing the artist’s involvement, laid out the deadlines and rules for the participants. Their designs outlines must be in by January and the submissions will be shopped around to the corporate, community and individual sponsors who have agreed to donate up to $25,000 to sponsor the decoration of an ox.

Based on sponsor selection, artists and donors will be “yoked” together in February and the artist will have until the summer to transform their 8-foot long, gleaming white ox into a work of art.

The decorated oxen will “roam” through fields, schools and business centers over the summer before they’re auctioned in Jan. 2015.

“This isn’t the time for cheap paints,” Lipson warned the artists. “The oxen are going to be out in the elements. They’re going to be out in the sun.”

The arts council hopes to auction 60 oxen. The proceeds of the sales will fund future projects and events to increase awareness and appreciation of the arts in Hopewell Valley, including the visual, culinary, literary and performing arts. The group is also looking to help fund a permanent center for artistic pursuits.

Artist Julie Rosenthal, who owns Art Sparks studio for kids in Hopewell Borough, said she plans to submit a design for a project that includes her students.

“How thrilling for them to know that something they created is being displayed in a public space and to know that they’re part of bringing art to public’s attention,” Rosenthal said.

Ted Berglund, whose art has appeared in many area venues, eyed the hulking ox and said he’ll most likely abandon his signature design of cutting into the canvasses he paints.

“I don’t know if I want to cut one of those things,” he said. “I may just go with spray paint.”
Local artist Bob Barish said he was pleased to see that the stampede organizers are so enthusiastic about the project.

“They’ve put so much thought into this,” he said. “And I like that they’re looking to develop a facility related to art. Having an art space in Hopewell Valley would be wonderful.”

Artist Ron Balerno designed the logo that appears on T-shirts and literature for the stampede. He says he already has several ideas for but hasn’t decided which he’ll submit.

“This project will be a big time commitment but it will be really worthwhile. The value the arts council will bring to Hopewell Valley cannot be over-estimated,” he said. “The groundswell of support for this project is already significant. If the interest continues and the artists get behind it, it will be a really great show.”

Hopewell Valley Stampede: Call For Artists

Artists Invited to Submit Oxen Designs; Forms Available on November 17

IMG_1863(HOPEWELL) – The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is issuing its official Call for Artists for the Hopewell Valley Stampede, with application documents available on Sunday, November 17 on the council’s website: www.hvartscouncil.org.  Artists must register by Tuesday, December 17, and design submissions are due by Friday, January 17, 2014. If selected, an artist will have from March through June 2014 to complete his or her ox. Submissions are open to all artists from the acclaimed to the amateur, and designs can be created individually or by teams.  Each design that is chosen will receive an  honorarium of $750.

The HV Arts Council invites painters, sculptors, craftsmen, multi-media artists, and other wildly creative people to join the Hopewell Valley Stampede and submit proposals for embellishing, adorning, and otherwise decorating the fiberglass oxen that will roam the Hopewell Valley in the fall of 2014.

This public art exhibit is expected to transform the Valley into an open air museum of one-of-a-kind, life-sized oxen sculptures, painted and embellished by artists of all ages, backgrounds and interests. The decorated oxen will graze in high-trafficked public places throughout Hopewell Valley, including streets, parks, businesses and schools in Pennington Borough, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Titusville and Brandon Farms.

The Stampede is a series of events sponsored by the newly formed Hopewell Valley Arts Council. On-going events, such as music festivals, art exhibits, community-wide culinary events and other cultural programs will heighten awareness of the Valley’s heritage and increase the visibility of the region’s artists and businesses.  The Stampede will inspire residents and visitors alike to remember the past and celebrate the present, and will generate support for the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s future programs and facilities.

About the Hopewell Valley Arts Council

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council seeks to showcase the breadth of existing talent in Hopewell Valley and increase participation in the arts by the larger community.   The HV Arts Council supports all creative exploration and expression, including visual, culinary, literary and performing arts.   Generously supported by Founding Sponsors Morehouse Engineering, Capital Health, Hopewell Valley Community Bank and Betty Wold Johnson, the HV Arts Council depends on the energy and talents of the residents of Hopewell Valley to celebrate art in the everyday. 

For more information, visit www.hvartscouncil.org. 

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For more information, the media can contact:

Newly Created Arts Council

Olly is everywhere and the press is sharing the exciting news of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.

pressreeleaseheader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCT. 17, 2013

NEWLY CREATED HOPEWELL VALLEY ARTS COUNCIL

CALLS ON CITIZENS AND ORGANIZATIONS TO CELEBRATE ART IN THE EVERYDAY

(HOPEWELL) – With a call to the citizens of the Hopewell Valley to “celebrate art in the everyday,” the newly-created Hopewell Valley Arts Council is embarking on the first of a series of inaugural initiatives to give all kinds of art a permanent home and high visibility in the Hopewell Valley, starting with a “stampede” of fiberglass oxen that will roam through the Valley.

A grassroots non-profit organization, the Council works to inspire the creation and implementation of a wide variety of arts programs, educational classes, events, performances and celebrations. The Council’s guiding principle is that the arts sustain and enhance the health, happiness and vitality of the Hopewell Valley community and beyond.

The HV Arts Council’s first initiative, “The Stampede,” – a collaboration of big and small, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, schools, families and individuals – is a public art project featuring life-sized fiberglass oxen which will be decorated by professional and amateur artists and placed in public spaces throughout the Valley, which includes Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough.

Artists and the public are invited to attend a meeting Wed., Oct. 30 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd. in Pennington, to learn more about the Stampede.

“We want the Stampede to raise awareness of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, raise funds for our programs, establish a community arts space, bring our communities together around a communal artistic celebration, and celebrate the diversity and depth of artistic talent in the Hopewell Valley,” said Betsy Ackerman, co-chair of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.

Arts Council Co-Chair Randee Tengi added, “The Hopewell Valley Arts Council cultivates creative exploration and grows awareness through a wide variety of visual, literary, culinary and performing arts events that demonstrate the breadth of talent residing in the Valley… Right now we are pursuing funding and/or creative partners to help us give the arts a permanent home in the Hopewell Valley and help all Hopewell Valley residents celebrate art in the everyday.”

The oxen will be ready for decorating in February 2014, and the first decorated oxen should appear in the summer of 2014, roaming the Hopewell Valley landscape in a variety of public spaces, from quaint downtowns to local neighborhoods and along rural roadways.

“This accessible, fun, highly visible initiative is designed to highlight the diversity and depth of artistic talent in the Hopewell Valley, build community through art, and, of course, to make people smile,” said Ackerman.

Established this year by Hopewell Valley residents who share a passion for the arts, the HV Arts Council is dedicated to using art to nurture a vibrant and involved Hopewell Valley community. The Arts Council’s guiding principle is that art sustains and enhances the health and well-being of a healthy community and everyone who touches and is touched by that community.

The idea for this public art exhibit was born in Zurich, Switzerland, and has been successfully replicated in cities throughout the United States. These projects serve as catalysts for community-building in a fun, non-political way. An ox was chosen as the icon of the Stampede as it is both a symbol of Hopewell Valley agricultural traditions and was made famous by a Super Bowl bet between New Jersey Governor Tom Kean and Colorado Governor Romer in 1987 – a Jersey Fresh seafood vs. Angus steer, depending on who won the game. When the Giants won, Governor Romer chose instead to send a live steer, which was proudly accepted by Kean, who then brought the steer along when he broke ground for the NJ Museum of Agriculture. The steer, dubbed “Giant,” lived out his years at the Howell Living History Farm in the Hopewell Valley, plowing fields and hauling carts.

For information on how to apply to decorate an ox, how to sponsor an artist, or how to volunteer, please email hvartscouncil@gmail.com.

About the Hopewell Valley Arts Council

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council seeks to enrich and unify the existing artistic culture in Hopewell Valley and increase awareness and appreciation of art in the community. HV Arts Council’s programs and events cultivate and support all creative exploration and expression, including the visual, culinary, literary and performing arts. Generously supported by Founding Sponsors Morehouse Engineering, Capital Health, Hopewell Valley Community Bank and Betty Wold Johnson, the HV Arts Council depends on the energy and talents of the residents of Hopewell Valley and encourages participation from both artists and the community in celebrating art in the everyday. For more information, visit www.hvartscouncil.org.

Click Here to view a pdf version!

Hopewell Valley Arts Council Calls on Citizens and Organizations To Celebrate Art In The Everyday

(HOPEWELL) – With a call to the citizens of the Hopewell Valley to “celebrate art in the everyday,” the newly-created Hopewell Valley Arts Council is embarking on the first of a series of inaugural initiatives to give all kinds of art a permanent home and high visibility in the Hopewell Valley, starting with a “stampede” of fiberglass oxen that will roam through the Valley.

A grassroots non-profit organization, the Council works to inspire the creation and implementation of a wide variety of arts programs, educational classes, events, performances and celebrations. The Council’s guiding principle is that the arts sustain and enhance the health, happiness and vitality of the Hopewell Valley community and beyond.

The HV Arts Council’s first initiative, “The Stampede,” – a collaboration of big and small, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, schools, families and individuals – is a public art project featuring life-sized fiberglass oxen which will be decorated by professional and amateur artists and placed in public spaces throughout the Valley, which includes Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough.   

Artists and the public are invited to attend a meeting Wed., Oct. 30 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd. in Pennington, to learn more about the Stampede. 

“We want the Stampede to raise awareness of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, raise funds for our programs, establish a community arts space, bring our communities together around a communal artistic celebration, and celebrate the diversity and depth of artistic talent in the Hopewell Valley,” said Betsy Ackerman, co-chair of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. 

Arts Council Co-Chair Randee Tengi added, “The Hopewell Valley Arts Council cultivates creative exploration and grows awareness through a wide variety of visual, literary, culinary and performing arts events that demonstrate the breadth of talent residing in the Valley… Right now we are pursuing funding and/or creative partners to help us give the arts a permanent home in the Hopewell Valley and help all Hopewell Valley residents celebrate art in the everyday.”

The oxen will be ready for decorating in February 2014, and the first decorated oxen should appear in the summer of 2014, roaming the Hopewell Valley landscape in a variety of public spaces, from quaint downtowns to local neighborhoods and along rural roadways.

“This accessible, fun, highly visible initiative is designed to highlight the diversity and depth of artistic talent in the Hopewell Valley, build community through art, and, of course, to make people smile,” said Ackerman.

Established this year by Hopewell Valley residents who share a passion for the arts, the HV Arts Council is dedicated to using art to nurture a vibrant and involved Hopewell Valley community.  The Arts Council’s guiding principle is that art sustains and enhances the health and well-being of a healthy community and everyone who touches and is touched by that community.

The idea for this public art exhibit was born in Zurich, Switzerland, and has been successfully replicated in cities throughout the United States. These projects serve as catalysts for community-building in a fun, non-political way.  An ox was chosen as the icon of the Stampede as it is both a symbol of Hopewell Valley agricultural traditions and was made famous by a Super Bowl bet between New Jersey Governor Tom Kean and Colorado Governor Romer in 1987 – a Jersey Fresh seafood vs. Angus steer, depending on who won the game. When the Giants won, Governor Romer chose instead to send a live steer, which was proudly accepted by Kean, who then brought the steer along when he broke ground for the NJ Museum of Agriculture. The steer, dubbed “Giant,” lived out his years at the Howell Living History Farm in the Hopewell Valley, plowing fields and hauling carts.

For information on how to apply to decorate an ox, how to sponsor an artist, or how to volunteer, please email hvartscouncil@gmail.com.

About the Hopewell Valley Arts Council

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council seeks to enrich and unify the existing artistic culture in Hopewell Valley and increase awareness and appreciation of art in the community.   HV Arts Council’s programs and events cultivate and support all creative exploration and expression, including the visual, culinary, literary and performing arts.   Generously supported by Founding Sponsors Morehouse Engineering, Capital Health, Hopewell Valley Community Bank and Betty Wold Johnson, the HV Arts Council depends on the energy and talents of the residents of Hopewell Valley and encourages participation from both artists and the community in celebrating art in the everyday.  For more information, visit www.hvartscouncil.org.

Click Here to view a pdf version!