OHS art student wins entry in Iowa City’s Herky on Parade

Written by
Miranda Bradberry
Published on
January 18, 2024
Written by
Miranda Bradberry
Published on
January 18, 2024

OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa Herald

An Oskaloosa High School student is debuting her creative skills on the Iowa art scene by designing and painting an entry for Iowa City’s public art project “Herky on Parade.”

Herky on Parade is an Iowa art exhibition born out of a partnership between the University of Iowa and Think Iowa City. Held in 2004, 2014 and now 2024, the event drafts local and regional artists to design and paint lifesize statues of the university’s iconic “Herky the Hawkeye” mascot, producing creative new takes on one of Iowa’s most recognizable symbols.

In Oskaloosa, art teacher Matt Kargol is using the project to teach one of his students how art works in the real world. Chasity Richardson is a senior at OHS with a passion for art. She’s taken several classes with Kargol during her time in high school and is capping it off by designing and painting her own take on Iowa’s famous Herky mascot.

“I’ve been pretty creative since elementary school. I consider myself an artist,” Richardson said. “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done, so this is a lot. [I like] that I can be myself [in art]. How I’m feeling, I can just draw it out or I can just connect to art. I like being creative,” she added.

It was Kargol who first suggested to his students that they should submit a design to Herky on Parade. After going through a competitive selection process, Richardson was awarded the honor. Kargol says the event received around 280 applications. Richardson’s design is one of only 75 statues chosen in honor of the mascot’s 75th birthday. While the specifics of Richardson’s plan for her project are confidential, she says she is planning to depict Herky as a passionate Hawkeyes fan on gameday. Her statue is tucked away in a room at OHS so that she can have privacy to work.

From the beginning of her process, which started with brainstorming a design, Richardson says the project has been a challenge.

“I had to do a lot of research just so that I wasn’t doing something somebody else already created, so that took a while because there’s a lot of designs for Herky,” she said. “There’s a lot of challenges, especially his shoes; trying to draw his shoes realistically is going to be hard for me. I think the whole thing is hard for me, just because he’s a pretty big guy,” she added.

For his part, Kargol says opportunities like Herky on Parade allow students to gain an understanding of how art functions in the real world.

“Back in 2014, they did a round of Herkys on Parade, and I did I think seven or eight of them. And so, when this came up again, with this being Entrepreneurship in the Arts class, learning how to be an artist and make money and live, I was like, ‘This is a great opportunity for our students to really do a real project; compete for and be awarded a project.’ And so I encouraged my students to apply, and several of them did, and Chasity was one, and hers actually was one of the first ones picked,” Kargol said.

“That’s just super exciting to see students competing against artists across the state and then being selected for this kind of thing,” he added.

Richardson has until March 29 to complete her project. The statues will be revealed by Think Iowa City this spring and will be displayed across Johnson County from May through August. Following the display, the statues will be auctioned off in benefit of a fund to send children to various summer camps, including art and athletic programs.

 

 

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