The month of May will be a busy one for the United Way of Sampson County’s “Go Hog Wild” campaign, which has set out to bring community goodwill and awareness, along with a horde of decorated hogs, to Clinton and the surrounding area.
Over the past two months, the local United Way has urged area businesses, civic and community organizations, schools, clubs and groups of individuals to sponsor a life-size pig sculpture, which could then be painted by local artists and displayed to show their community spirit.
United Way members had high hopes of possibly getting 20 sponsors at $1,000 each — they got 24. Now numerous local artists have lined up to bring the project to fruition.
Sponsors are: The Atrium Florist and Gifts, Sessoms Jewelry, Sampson Regional Medical Center, Clinton Medical Clinic, Clinton City Schools, Sampson County Schools, Murphy Brown, Matthews Drug, Prestage Farms, Partnership for Children of Sampson County, Smithfield Foods, Huff Orthopedic, Sampson Arts Council, Golden Corral, an “Honorarium” pig being dedicated to somebody, the Clinton-Sampson Rotary Club/Black & Chestnutt PA, Piggly Wiggly, Hog Slat, a group pig for Harrells Christian Academy, Star Telephone Membership Corporation and the United Way of Sampson County.
Four local banks, First Citizens Bank, BB&T, Southern Bank and Trust and Patriot State Bank, which will jointly sponsor one pig. There are also two individuals who are sponsoring a pig each.
Grace Ho is the artistic consultant for the “Go Hog Wild” Committee, which is co-chaired by Janet Prestage and Wendy Carr. Ho is designing two pigs, one for Sessoms Jewelry and the other, with Carr, for Huff Orthopedic. Ho said so many artists have shown support that just a handful are painting multiple hogs.
“Some will be doing more than one, but not more than two,” said Ho. “We do have all the artists lined up with their sponsors.”
She expressed excitement with the participation from local artisans, especially those who are also educators. “What’s remarkable is all the Clinton City Schools (art) teachers are involved,” Ho noted. “All will be painting pigs.”
She said the group of about 20 artists includes those from each of the schools in the Clinton City Schools system, including Megan Scronce at Sampson Middle School; Michael Ray at Clinton High School, Erica Jackson at L.C. Kerr; Diana Gore at Sunset Avenue; and Kristie Slack at Butler Avenue. Along with Ho and Wendy Carr, Meredith Horne of Harrells Christian Academy will be painting two and still several other artists will be bringing the pigs to life.
The majority of the 65-pound fiberglass pigs are expected to arrive next week.
“We’re very excited,” said Ho.
With the $1,000 sponsorship, the pigs were purchased and shipped. Other money was set aside for artist materials and a stipend for their time and effort. Artists will have the entire month of May, and the beginning of June, to decorate their pigs.
All sponsors have the option to purchase a $200 ear tag for ownership of the pig, something many have already chosen to do. Other decorated pigs will be sold at the “Public Livestock Auction” during the Court Square Street Fair in October, with all proceeds going to the United Way of Sampson County.
“We want to raise awareness of United Way of Sampson County, show community spirit and promote local artists and agriculture in our community, which I think affects everyone,” Nancy Carr, executive director for the United Way of Sampson County, has said. “This is about community goodwill. This is a way for us to get the community to rally around something positive.”
The community has done just that, said Dottie McCullen, vice president of the United Way board. McCullen said she is happy about the exposure the campaign has given to United Way, and how it has worked to unify many under the same project.
“Everybody in the community is very positive and happy about what we’re doing,” said McCullen. “A lot of people told me they wished they had found out about it sooner. It’s a great project all around. It’s something different.”
Pigs will be unveiled in mid-June at the “Swine and Cheese” event, open to sponsors and artists. They will be displayed throughout the area — preferably in walking distance around downtown, organizers said — all summer long from June to October. The pigs will also have the chance to be nominated for “Hammy Awards,” with the two receiving the most votes appearing in the Clinton Christmas parade.
Bringing further awareness to the campaign and United Way, there will be “Go Hog Wild” T-shirts, designed by Ho, on sale in the future, likely in June. The ultimate goal is to bring about a community-wide project and raise awareness, all while bringing something new to Clinton and Sampson County.
“It’s a more of a getting-to-know-you project than it is a big money maker,” said McCullen. “I’m real excited and I think the community is excited.”
Anyone with questions regarding about “Go Hog Wild” can contact Nancy Carr at the United Way of Sampson County at 910-592-4263, or via email at email@example.com.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 121, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.