Bucky is about to get a makeover. About 100 makeovers, actually, as life-sized, fiberglass statues of everyone’s favorite Badger take to the Madison streets next spring. In May 2018, Bucky on Parade will decorate Madison and the UW campus with more than 100 Bucky statues, each decorated by a different local or regional artist. The free, public-art event will run through September 2018.
“This unique experience will showcase the playful personality of Bucky Badger and highlight the creativity of our community,” says Deb Archer, the CEO of the Madison Area Sports Commission, which is producing the event. “We are honored to be entrusted with managing such a large-scale public art event.”
If an event featuring 100-some life-size statues sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Bucky on Parade was partially modeled after the successful CowParade Wisconsin, which was put on by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board in 2006. CowParade was an international public-art exhibit that started in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1998. The first American cows appeared in downtown Chicago in 1999. MASC’s Archer says that the success of CowParade Wisconsin will “help guide us through the process.”
To bring the event to life, MASC has partnered with campus-based groups including the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, the UW Department of Athletics, and Garding Against Cancer. Bucky on Parade will also serve as a fundraiser: its two main causes being MASC and Garding Against Cancer, which was founded by Badger men’s basketball’s head coach, Greg Gard, and his wife, Melissa, to support cancer research in Wisconsin. “We are honored to be the charity of choice for this event, which will likely be the top of everyone’s must-do list while in Madison,” the Gards said in a press release.
In addition to fundraising, Bucky on Parade also aims to be a major draw for visitors to Madison and the UW–Madison campus. MASC’s vice chair, Joe Boucher JD’77, MBA’78, says that the event demonstrates the “mutually beneficial town-and-gown partnerships that make Madison a great place to work and play.”