Similar to the CowParade in Chicago and the Major League Baseball statues on parade in New York City, the Walking Man Project is a community display of 10-foot Walking Man statues with an emphasis on moving and thinking forward.
Walking Man statues are purchased by local businesses as blank prototypes and then sponsored by local artists who create unique designs on their Walking Man. The statues will be displayed around town for three months and then sold in an auction with the money going to local charities. The Walking Man Project allows citizens the opportunity to participate in a treasure hunt along with a photo contest. More than 30 statues are being designed.
[Photo: AU students Jason Quinn, Joy Kang, YeJin Ha, and Xavier Walton work on their interpretation of the Walking Man statue.]
AU became involved with this project through the motivation of Levi Rinker, creator of the Walking Man Project. “Anderson is my hometown,” said Rinker. “My parents attended Anderson College, which makes me a project of AU. I wanted to give back to the community and bring a sense of energy to the town. I came up with the idea while looking at a scrap pile of wood. I decided I could either build something of it or burn it, which I soon realized was a symbol of our economy. This project psychologically and metaphysically cleanses the town and creates an icon.”
Students in the Department of Art+Design created the design for AU’s Walking Man. Freshman visual communication design major Xavier Walton is excited about the design choice. “We wanted our Walking Man to have a purpose and reach out to the community,” said Walton. “Therefore, one side of our design will represent AU and the campus, and the other side will represent the faith and service that AU strives to carry out in the community.”
At the end of the auction, the money AU receives will go toward student financial aid. “I am happy the money will be going toward student aid. It feels good to know this project will help students with tuition costs and loans,” said Walton.
Chris Williams, director of university communications and community relations, believes this project will bring AU one step closer to the community. “This project is in line with what we strive to do at AU: educate for a life of service. One aspect of that is being a part of the community,” said Williams. “There is a lot of evidence of this partnership. AU has a deep rich history in the arts, which can be seen through the outdoor art on our campus such as Helios and the Eternal Flame. AU is always interested in partnering with organizations in the community because AU is here for the community just as the community is here for AU.”
AU hopes to work with more local organizations in the future. “Any time organizations come together to promote the community, it is better for all of us,” said Williams. “It is exciting to be able to partner with the community again. AU would not be here without the city of Anderson.”
For more information visit The Walking Man Project website.
— Kelli Oxley is a sophomore at Anderson University, majoring in communication arts. Oxley is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.