Doc Ox wears scrubs, a stethoscope and a detailed identification badge with his own horned mug gracing the photo.
The four-legged physician, one of 23 clever and colorful designs for Babe the not-so-blue ox statue, was loaded on a flatbed trailer Monday. Part of the Oxtrot art expedition, the Babe statues will be on display from the fishing opener through Labor Day. Statues not kept by sponsors will be put up for auction in September.
The Oxtrot provides an outlet for area artists, connects artists with the business community, showcases public art, raises funds for art classes and education in the lakes area and offers a summer attraction for visitors and residents.
Oxtrot statues appeared to be watching the passing traffic in front of the Highway 18 Collision Center as they waited to be loaded and delivered in time for the governor's fishing opener.
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The idea is to draw attention to the area from tourists and residents in the way the Snoopy statues did in the Twin Cities. The Oxtrot project is sponsored by the Crossing Arts Alliance in partnership with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber and Avalon Studios.
Among the statues, there are homages to painters Jackson Pollock and Vincent van Gogh. Some celebrate the natural environment and alternate energy. Humor is evident, such as the wind farm strategically located on an ox's backside. Some statues take on the personification of their sponsors, such as the dive-tank-wearing ox for the Minnesota School of Diving or electricity - down to the light bulb at the end of an ox tail - for Crow Wing Power. Several statues portray lakes area scenes - fishing, northern lights, fish house villages, lakeside cabins, camping and special events.
The Oxtrot and the "Finding Babe" campaign is getting statewide attention. The Brainerd Lakes Chamber received a competitive $30,000 grant and plans to spend $75,000 on Oxtrot promotions.
The statues are being mounted on concrete bases. Josh Porter, Oxtrot project organizer from Avalon Studios, said Sather Concrete Products helped with the heavy work to set the bases. The bases weigh about 1,000 pounds. Monday Porter and Al Prosch lifted the fiberglass statues onto the trailer and secured them for delivery as they left the Highway 18 Collision Center.
Art work on the Oxtrot statues provides a variety of looks, including scenes such as this fishing moment found on the Lewie's RV Center ox statue. The detailed scenes create added interest for close-up views of the ox statues, which are going up this week throughout lakes area communities. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The Oxtrot statue sponsors are: Brainerd Savings & Loan, Highway 18 Collision Center, The Shante in Pillager, Irma Cragun, Brainerd International Raceway, Sather Concrete Products, city of Pequot Lakes, Crosslake Community School, Nisswa PTO/Nisswa Enhanced Reading, Russell & Herder, Hunt Utilities, Pine River Chamber of Commerce, Crossing Arts Alliance, Minnesota School of Diving, Crow Wing Power, Lewie's RV, Crosslake Town Square, Insty Prints, Brainerd Jaycees, Lakewood Health System in Staples, Wildwedge Golf and Mini Golf, Downtown Brainerd and Lakewood Bank.
Porter said the Oxtrot will get its official kickoff at the free, public community picnic Friday afternoon at the Trailside Park in Pequot Lakes as part of the governor's fishing opener activities. A special hanging fish-style Oxtrot statue will be unveiled at the picnic and then will be part of the fishing opener at Breezy Point Resort before it eventually finds a home in Crosslake.
The Oxtrot art expedition, an effort to provide a summer-long attraction for visitors and residents through public art, connected artists with sponsors. The Babe statues also are raising money for art education. Each of the 23 sponsored statues took on an individual personality. Note the doughnut ring, banana horns and ice cream atop the ox in the foreground sponsored by The Shante in Pillager. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
A promotional display at the Welcome Center will feature an ox by Avalon Studios and Crossing Arts Alliance with brochures and maps of the statue locations. The Oxtrot locations also are featured on the chamber's 2008 Brainerd lakes area map. People who visit each Oxtrot site will be able to register for a lakes area getaway. For more information, go online to www.oxtrot.com or www.explorebrainerdlakes.com.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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