Sunday, July 09, 2000

Pig Parade: King Millie

Students patch puzzler of a pig

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

(Mike Simons photo)
| ZOOM |
        This is 71st in a series spotlighting pigs from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Find past pig profiles and event details at

        Artists: Students of Kings Mills Elementary School; Katie Mason, art teacher.

        Sponsor: Kings Mills Elementary PTA.

        This pig's pen: Ninth Street between Vine and Walnut at the Main Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

        What's the pig idea? The ultimate jigsaw puzzle using total participation.

        You were inspired by: “The challenge of creating a pig that incorporates the art of 543 K-4 students and was not a replica of a cow in Chicago's Cows on Parade,” Ms. Mason says. “I began with the idea of a patchwork quilt, similar to Elmer the Elephant. This worked itself into the idea of puzzle pieces with the idea that each student was a piece of our puzzle.”

        You want people to look at this pig and think: Of Charlotte's Web.

        Completing the project took: About six weeks.

        What's the matter?: Acrylic paint with a protective UV varnish applied by the Body Shop in Lebanon.

        Your high on the hog was: “Knowing that each student has a puzzle piece on the pig,” Ms. Mason said. “My contribution was just filling in the spaces where the pieces didn't quite fit. My personal high was painting the eyes.”

        Pig peeve: Letting King Millie go. Though we look forward to the pig returning in November.

        Best pig tale: “The day my husband and I brought King Millie to school for the first time. My husband, who is a volunteer firefighter, pulled up in front of the school with lights flashing and sirens roaring on his truck. Some 550 students and staff chanted "King Millie' as the principal, Darcy Hanley, kissed the pig.”

        What do you call this pig: The pig was named King Millie by Linda Burgdorf's first grade class.

        The materials cost: About $550.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? Art, by the individual students' pieces. Porkography, by the assembly of random pieces.

        If your pig starred in a movie, who would you cast to play the role? Wilbur from Charlotte's Web.


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