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Student Sculpture Guild creates homecoming effigy

For the fourth year in a row, Colorado Mesa University’s Sculpture Guild is creating an effigy to be burned during the Homecoming bonfire. This year’s sculpture will be Dixie State University’s mascot, Brooks the Bison. CMU’s football team will play against Dixie State University at this year’s homecoming game.

The Sculpture Guild is a Student Life organization that gives students opportunities to create sculptures outside of the classroom.

“We have so much fun with the effigy,” said student Rikki Cook, Sculpture Guild president. “It’s probably our most hands-on, interactive fundraising activity. We are always so proud of it. It looks great, it’s a lot of fun and we always make it dorky in some way because it’s an effigy.”

This year, the Sculpture Guild reached out to the chemistry program for a special addition to the effigy. The eyes of the Dixie State mascot glow red, so the guild implanted lithium nitrate in the effigy’s eyes. When the lithium nitrate burns it will glow red — giving the effigy bison glowing red eyes.

While mostly fun, these types of projects teach students vital skills for the future. Araan Schmidt, assistant professor of art, said the most important skills students learn are the responsibility of being contracted by a business/organization and creating a project from start to finish with real deadlines.

“It’s a real-world application,” said Schmidt. “It’s a community (the Sculpture Guild), they enjoy getting together and building something for a fundraiser and it’s a way they can contribute towards the school at the same time.”

Creating the effigy is a process that takes the Sculpture Guild several meetings to complete. First they make a rough framework of what the mascot will look like out of two-by-fours. Then they wrap the frame in chicken wire to shape the mascot and stuff it with newspaper. Paper mache is applied to the framework and lastly it is painted.

“There is a lot of collaborative artwork since there’s a large group of us,” said Cook. “We have to learn to work together.”

After 40 or more hours of work creating the effigy, it will be burned during the annual Homecoming bonfire on Friday, Oct. 26 at 8:15pm.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Cook. “It’s almost like you create a sculpture to watch it become ash, but it’s also really rewarding to watch it burn. One of our favorite parts is once the paper mache and the wood has burned the only thing left is the outline of the shape in chicken wire. It’s almost like a glowing cage is left.”