Thursday, May 25, 2000

Pig Parade: A Swine of Signs

Swine's sign language tells its story

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

St. Rita School for the Deaf's pig is covered with sign language symbols.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        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

        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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- Pig Parade: A Swine of Signs
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