Media Relations Manager
June 5, 2002
Museum of Natural History gets approval for
Pittsburgh … On Wednesday June 5, the Pittsburgh Art Commission voted unanimously to approve DinoMite Days, the public display of approximately a hundred dinosaurs throughout the city. The approval allows Pittsburgh to be transported back to the age of dinosaurs, decorating the city with the most colorful display of local artistry the region has ever seen.
"The art commission's approval was the first and most important step in making DinoMite Days a reality," said Bill DeWalt, PhD, then-Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. "This approval guarantees this public art project will be highly visible in the City of Pittsburgh. We are now able to move forward to develop sponsorship levels and artists guidelines."
The event will be coordinated by Carnegie Museum of Natural History with major funding provided by the Laurel Foundation of Pittsburgh. DinoMite Days will feature three dinosaur designs that will transform city streets, office buildings and local gardens into a wonderful outdoor public art exhibit.
"We are thrilled to be involved with such a fun and exciting marketing awareness program that positively promotes our region to the rest of the world," said Donna Panazzi, Vice President of the Laurel Foundation. "DinoMite Days will help encourage tourism for our region, while supporting the worthwhile programs of Carnegie Museum of Natural History and numerous other nonprofit organizations in western Pennsylvania."
Modeled after the public art project Cow Parade introduced in Zurich, Switzerland, the concept has been successful in New York, Chicago and adapted in several other North American cities. It is intended to showcase emerging and established local artists, support tourism and promote regional partnerships.
While some cities have used cows, moose and horses, dinosaurs are a natural for Pittsburgh because of the preeminence of Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the discovery of and scientific research on dinosaurs. Dinosaurs will be a major attraction because they appeal to people of all ages.
"The community-wide initiative celebrates Pittsburgh's international reputation for scientific innovation and world-class cultural organizations," DeWalt said. "Carnegie Museum of Natural History represents both of these segments, and the museum is best known internationally for its world-class dinosaur collection housed at the museum."
The three dinosaur designs selected are Tyrannosaurus rex, Torosaurus and Stegosaurus. Casts of these creatures will be transformed into unique, colorful and even playful works of art. The dinosaurs will be securely mounted and displayed at highly visible locations throughout Pittsburgh and other designated locations. Each dinosaur will have a plaque indicating the name of its sponsor or "sponsaur" and artist.
"DinoMite Days is a project that will include the entire Pittsburgh community," said Susie Perelman of Squirrel Hill, co-chairperson of the event. "It is something that everyone - corporate, public, cultural and private sectors - can participate in and have fun doing.
"It will also heighten awareness of the many great things Pittsburgh has to offer, hopefully drawing people from all over the world and ultimately raising funds for the world-class cultural organizations located in the city."
Research Casting International of Toronto has been selected to design, manufacture and deliver the fiberglass dinosaurs. Best known as the creators of the museum's Dippy statue, situated outside the Oakland facility, Royal Casting International has created dinosaur replicas for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
The sizes of each dinosaur will vary. The Tyrannosaurus rex will stand approximately 7' by 10'. The Torosaurus will be approximately 5.5' by 8.5' and the Stegosaurus will rise 5.5' by 8'. Each dinosaur will be designed to be as scientifically accurate as possible, while providing artists the most flexibility in their designs. All the dinosaurs will be mounted on a cement base to prevent them from being removed and protected with anti-graffiti materials.
The Art Commission's approval was the first step in transforming Pittsburgh into a real-life "Jurassic Park." Later this summer, Carnegie Museum of Natural History will be announcing how local artists and those wishing to become sponsors can participate.
Artist guidelines are currently being developed and will be distributed to the artist community around July 1. An art jury comprised of representatives from various art organizations throughout Pittsburgh will review and select the artists. Once selected, the artists then will have approximately four to six weeks to complete their dinosaurs. An honorarium will be paid to each artist upon final completion and approval of their dinosaurs.
Different sponsorship guidelines will also be available. Organizations wishing to become DinoMite Days "sponsaurs" can contact Carnegie Museum of Natural History Development at 412.622.5778 beginning July 1.
At the end of the public display period, sponsors will donate their dinosaurs back to DinoMite Days for auction. These dinosaurs will join several other pre-selected dinosaurs that will be auctioned on October 4, 2003.
Sponsors can select a beneficiary to receive a percentage of the proceeds from the donated dinosaurs. The remaining proceeds will benefit Carnegie Museum of Natural History's public and educational programs, which reach almost one million people throughout the region.
Although the museum has recently announced a $37-million expansion and renovation of its world-famous Dinosaur Hall, none of the proceeds, unless designated by a sponsor, will be used for this project.
"We are as excited about the October 4 auction celebration as we are about the public display of the dinosaurs," said DeWalt. "We expect everyone will have a great time that evening while we raise a lot of money for many of the region's cultural groups and organizations."
In addition to being fun, playful and shining the international spotlight on the region, DinoMite Days will also benefit many local businesses. Based on similar successful events in other cities, DinoMite Days is expected to have a tremendous economic impact on the region. Chicago's "Cows on Parade," for example, attracted an estimated 10 million visitors to the city and added $200 million to the local economy.
"This is an exciting event designed to bring thousands of visitors to our region and generate a significant economic impact for the city," said Tinsy Lipchak, Executive Director of the Office of Cultural Tourism for the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We are excited to be to able incorporate this fun and exciting event into our 2003 cultural tourism efforts."