The pig days of summer?

Porcine fans will squeal with delight at the Avenue’s Pigs on Parade promotion that looks to create a “buzz” this summer in the business district with 16 painted fiberglass figurines and three piglet benches.

So why pigs?

“The idea of painted pigs makes people smile,” according to a written pitch made by representatives of the Avenue Business Association to the Public Art Advisory Commission, which vets requests for public art that may block the public way. The village board granted the pigs final approval Monday night.

The Avenue plan calls for 16 fiberglass pig figurines to be decorated by local artists, then displayed starting in June throughout the district until they’re sent to market in early October.

Proceeds from the sale of the pig-art will benefit Hephzibah Children’s Association, The Avenue, and a nonprofit to be picked by the Public Art Advisory Commission.

Shoppers this summer will also be able to rest their dogs on three decorated piglet benches near Caribou Coffee (corner of Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue), Logos Bookstore (corner of North Boulevard and Oak Park), and ReMax in the Villages (at Pleasant Street and Oak Park).

Seattle, Cincinnati and Naperville have all had their own pig projects. In Oak Park, the promotion is sponsored by about a dozen Avenue businesses, including Wednesday Journal.

The 3-foot-tall pigs will be mounted to 300-pound concrete blocks, provided by Mohr Concrete. John Schiess will make space available in empty Oak Park Avenue storefronts for artists to work in. He’s also sponsoring and painting one of the pigs himself.

The Pigs on Parade exhibition will create a “buzz” for the Avenue, drawing attention and shoppers to the district, the statement to the commission says.

Pigs on Parade is a takeoff on Chicago’s 1999 Cows on Parade, which had an estimated $200 million economic impact from the more than 300 painted cows scattered through the downtown area.

CONTACT: dcarter@wjinc.com

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