Thursday, May 25, 2000

Pig Parade: A Swine of Signs


Swine's sign language tells its story

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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St. Rita School for the Deaf's pig is covered with sign language symbols.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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        This is the 26th in the series spotlighting a pig from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Past pig profiles can be found at Cincinnati.com/bigpiggig.

        Artist: St. Rita School for the Deaf; Kathy Ferraro, Sister Geralyn Schneider, teachers; Sandi Reitz, parent.

        Sponsor: Louise Taft Semple Foundation.

        This pig's pen: Main Public Library.

        You were inspired by: “The deaf community,” Ms. Ferraro says. “We had a spring drama at the school that took up all the students' time, so we did not have students working on the pig, but we had a lot of input from the staff.”

        You want people to look at this pig and think: “This pig is a teaching pig, about total communication for the deaf and hard of hearing. It's covered with sign language symbols. It's wearing a hearing aide and has a cochlear implant,” Ms. Ferraro says.

        “People may ask why the pig is black. That's because it's an interpreter pig and language interpreters like to sign in front of a dark background so their hands are easy to see.”

        The project took: About three weeks.

        Your high on the hog was: “Just seeing it all come together. To see all the ideas on paper come to fruition on a 3-D object,” Ms. Ferraro says.

        Pig peeve: “Things things that we would have done differently if we had more time and experience.”

        Best pig tale: Some staff people don't read the messages in their in-boxes, so they would hear about the pig and go down to the work area to see the pig. They would say "That's not a real pig. That's only a plastic pig.' ”

       



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