The Javelinas are Coming!
Two years ago, Tubac began a public art project that would feature Javelinas, wild animals unique to the Southwest United States. Javelinas are collared peccaries, not pigs, which tend to live in groups called squadrons, sometimes numbering as many as 40. First proposed by Virginia Hall, who has been designated as a “master artist” by the Tubac Center of the Arts and who, calling in another “master artist” friend and sculptor, Nick Wilson, took the idea to the TCA Board. The Board concluded that the project needed to happen. “People will come to see these critters that are unique to this area,” said board director Karen Topping.
Each sculpture is sponsored either by community members or by businesses in the area. What began as a herd of 25 grew to 50 javelinas, including 44 adults and 6 sets of babies. Volunteer painters—from seasoned, nationally recognized professional artists to a collaboration of budding painters from the Montessori de Santa Cruz school in Tubac—received a small stipend for materials. The artists’ work portrays the many moods of javelinas – fierce, coy, funny, parental, and sometimes plain crazy!
The painted javelinas will be presented to the community on October 26, 2019, and a delegation of javelina sculptures sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce will greet visitors at the Tucson International Airport (Fig. 1). Given the javelina’s natural inclination to scrounge for food, there will be a scavenger hunt held in November. The statues will be auctioned at a fundraiser in late February or early March 2020.
Maps of the locations of the javelina statues will be available around Tubac and online. Should anyone be inspired to paint his or her own, 8-inch white javelinas will be available for purchase.
Modified from an article in “Desert Leaf,” written by Beth Surdut, nature illustrator and NPR essayist. Vol. 33, No. 8, pgs. 68-69.