WMU News

WMU joins in 'Hail Kalamazoo' community art project

Oct. 1, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Chicago's "Cows on Parade" has inspired similar community art projects in many cities, including Cincinnati's "Big Pig Gig" and now, "Hail Kalamazoo."

Chicago has cows; Kalamazoo has cabs--identically cast, four-foot replicas of the Checker Marathon taxicab, an American icon manufactured in Kalamazoo until 1982, when Checker Motors stopped making cars. Dozens of local artists have applied their talents to create more than 30 unique works of art--beautifully, curiously and hilariously adorned Checkers--which are displayed in public spaces throughout downtown.

Among the first cabs completed was one purchased by the WMU Alumni Association, painted by two artists with close ties to the university and displayed this fall at The Union, a WMU-theme restaurant and cabaret on the Kalamazoo Mall. Graduate art student Kathy Murphy and Kim Nelson, a graphic artist in the Office of University Relations, shared in the creation of WMU's cab, titled "'Where to?' 'WMU.'"

Like most similar projects, "Hail Kalamazoo" is intended to make art more visible and accessible to the public, help familiarize the community with local artists and raise money for local charities. Kalamazoo's United Way and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will share in the proceeds from the sale of the art taxicabs, about 30 of which have already been purchased for public display.

"'Where to?' 'WMU.'" will be displayed on campus during homecoming at PepFest, Oct. 16. Photos and more information about Murphy, Nelson and the WMU taxicab are available on the Web at <www.wmich.edu/alumni/cab>.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400