Painted statues of Dixie State’s mascot could begin appearing across St. George

"Brooks the Bison" statue at Dixie State University. The statue was a gift to the school by the student body, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2016 | Photo by Austin Peck, St George News

ST. GEORGE – Dixie State’s new mascot may be making multiple appearances across St. George in the future. During a City Council work meeting Thursday, city officials were presented with a potential and colorful way to promote the university and the city, as well as the area’s arts community.

A project called “A Bison’s Trail” was presented to the council by Jordon Sharp, Dixie State’s chief of marketing and communications officer. The project, which is in the preliminary stages, is a “bison art project,” Sharp said.

Mirroring what other universities have done, Dixie State University would purchase a number of fiberglass statues of its mascot, Brooks the Bison, to be used as public canvases for area artists. The painted statues could then be sponsored by area businesses and organizations and displayed across town.

“We want to do this not for ourselves and our students but for our community as well,” Sharp said.

Potential sponsorships were presented in two possible tiers. The first allows a business to sponsor a statue, and in return, the business will be featured on a plaque by the statue and also on a website detailing the Bison’s Trail project. Access to the university’s various arts and cultural-based events would also be provided to the sponsor.

The second tier grants the same benefits of the first, with the additional option for a sponsor to buy the statue outright.

A slide shown during a presentation of the "A Bison's Trail" project given to the St. George City Council. It gives an example of what a what a painted Brooks the Bison statue could look like with accompanying plaques, St. George, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A slide shown during a presentation of the “A Bison’s Trail” project given to the St. George City Council. It gives an example of what a painted Brooks the Bison statue could look like with accompanying plaques, St. George, Utah, June 9, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Along with a plaque featuring the sponsoring party, statues will feature three other plaques: one with details about the artist and two others for the City of St. George and Dixie State.

It is believed the project will promote St. George, the university, businesses and the arts community, Sharp said.

“What we’re hoping for: We want all the money from this project to fund university town and gown projects,” Sharp said.

“Town and gown projects” were described as ventures made between a university and the city it resides in that promote and benefit both. A way money from Bison Trail sponsorships could be used is to replace the Dixie State banners on St. George Boulevard when needed or aid the city with branding efforts.

And when it comes to the benefits to the artists involved, Sharp said they would likely be given $500 for the project, plus the plaque on the statue’s base providing publicity for their work.

“We’re been getting calls all day from artists that want to do this,” Sharp said, adding that Dixie State has already in contact with area artists and related groups, including Art Around the Corner.

Anyone can apply once the project is underway, Sharp said. However, he added that they hope to get a mix of applicants from the Dixie State student body, individual artists and interested arts groups.

While details of the project itself were discussed, the main issue Sharp brought to the City Council was where the statues could be legally placed.

Members of City Council and city staff expressed support of the project and said approving potential locations likely wouldn’t be an issue as far as city property is concerned. As for private property, university officials will need to work with the property owners themselves.

The main concern related to any potential location in the city — public or private — is making sure the statues aren’t set in places that hinder pedestrian and motorist right of way. Other than that, no objections were voiced by the council or staff.

Potential locations in St. George include the center of roundabouts, Ancestor Square, the Zion Outlets, Dixie Regional Medical Center, Vernon Worthen Park, Town Square and The Pioneer Center for the Arts, along with other public parks and areas and private businesses.

“I like it,” City Manager Gary Esplin said. “It think it’s a great opportunity to mix the city and university together. It’s a logical extension of the relationship we have. Finding sites shouldn’t be an issue.”

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • Lastdays June 10, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Still not convinced, and probably never will be, that removing the Rebel name and mascot was necessary.
    But what is even more amazing, is to witness this mass marketing frenzy to force the public to accept this red-eyed white buffalo as some kind of meaningful change we should all embrace.
    We currently have all the street lights in the medians of the Blvd with the stoned buffalo flags. Now we also need statues all over town to make sure we don’t miss this brainwashing effort.
    No wonder enrollment is down. R.I.P. Dixie College 1911-2009

  • wilbur June 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    these statues will be especially appealing painted in “rainbow” colors

  • Pheo June 10, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    I lived in Iowa City 10 or so years ago when they had a similar project with dozens of Herky the Hawkeye statues all over town. They were always a highlight of our trips downtown.

  • Curtis June 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    I still can’t figure out how they came up with a buffalo. Ask 500 people who have been in St. George 10 years or more and I doubt if any one would pick a buffalo as somehow representing the area. How about road runner? Google video of roadrunner and rattlesnake. Plus there is the old roadrunner cartoon character to play off of.
    And white ?? Isn’t that a micro aggression or something?

    • .... June 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Yeah wait till AL Sharpton finds out that a place called DIXIE has a WHITE Buffalo as a mascot. LOL !

  • St. G June 10, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    No matter how many tax dollars are spent, no informed person will ever associate St.G with bison. Strike two.

  • Bob June 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    could have done a desert fox or something. a buffalo is just ridiculous

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