12:00 AM

Brutus Buckeye to decorate street corners of Columbus

COLUMBUS – Dozens of colorful and unique Brutus Buckeye statues will grace the greater Columbus area beginning next spring, part of an effort to raise as much as $1 million toward renovation of The Ohio State University Library. University officials today announced the new "Brutus On Parade" program, which will inspire the creation of as many as 250 seven-foot tall, fiberglass statues of the popular Buckeye mascot, each custom designed to reflect a unique personality or theme.

As a preview of the program that will run through much of 2008, "Brutus On Parade" organizers unveiled the first three statues on Wednesday. These include a Woody Hayes Brutus, Gordon Gee Brutus, and Christopher Columbus Brutus. These statues will be displayed at sites around Ohio Stadium for this weekend's game against Wisconsin.

Brutus On Parade is patterned after Chicago's successful "Cows on Parade" in 1999 and the 2004 program at the University of Iowa featuring the mascot Herky Hawkeye. The initiative is aimed at creating awareness of the renovation of the William Oxley Thompson Library, attracting visitors to the city of Columbus and promoting a sense of community for central Ohio residents. Proceeds from the program will also help fund a general scholarship for Ohio State cheerleaders in the name of Brutus Buckeye.

"Seeing the success that other cities have experienced with similar statue programs, we were excited to bring such an event to Columbus," said Rick Van Brimmer, director of Ohio State's Office of Trademark and Licensing Services. "We expect that this campaign will create fun and enthusiasm in the community and at the same time help fund the university's library renovation."

The university is currently seeking sponsors for Brutus statues, which will be placed throughout the Columbus area next May through October. Sponsorships will range from $10,000 to $20,000, with $2,000 going to participating designers for their time and materials. Businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring a Brutus statue should visit brutusonparade.com or call 740-852-2478. Sponsors will be asked to recommend a Brutus design for consideration or pick from an already approved catalog of concepts. In similar campaigns in other U.S. cities, designs have included famous people, super heroes and historic figures. Potential concepts for the Brutus on Parade include an astronaut, the Wright brothers, or presidential statues.

Ohio State initiated a $109 million renovation project of its William Oxley Thompson Library in January 2007. The Ohio State Library is a university landmark and a cornerstone of the university, ranked 21st among the 113 members of the Association of Research Libraries. The project, to be completed by 2009, will create a facility that serves Ohio State students and faculty well into the 21st century.