The Day of Pigs
Once nicknamed "Porkopolis" because of its
slaughter houses, Cincinnati is going hog-wild with a Big
Pig Gig for which Tamara Harkavy and her staff have
rounded up a piggery of painted porcine personalities.
Each cast resin figure is unique, bringing smiles to
passersby in many public places.
Harkavy is director of Artworks, Cincinnati, a
nonprofit public parks agency promoting this summer's
Queen City fund-raiser in emulation of the udderly
successful "Chi-cow-go" program which filled the Windy
City with colorful cows.
Being a pig pen pal to 400 porcine figures and an
equal number of talented artists applying acrylic make-up
is just one part of Harkavy's balancing act. Providing
summertime employment for talented teenagers is Artwork's
major responsibility, with eight other park programs
underway. Young imaginations go into play decorating park
benches; creating public murals and sculptures,
fashioning clothing and accessories to be sold in the
Artworks Gallery; and sponsoring a Little Pig Gig in
which piglet miniatures are painted.
"We have a Bookworks project in which youngsters
write stories and make their own books," Harkavy
explains. "In a Speak Out program, poems are read, and in
another, children make percussion instruments, then
create appropriate rhythms and dances." In all of these
summer endeavors, youngsters are required to apply and go
through an on-site interview, Harkavy adds.
These scattered programs and maintaining an
Artworks office in Cincinnati's venerable Eden Park
comprise the work aspect of Tamara Harkavy's life. In
addition, she is a housewife and mother of an 11-year-old
son. What is her greatest challenge in trying to balance
these diverse commitments?
"Time management," she quickly replies. "Despite
this summer's increasing demands for Artworks projects, I
am determined not to let my home life suffer. I have an
amazing staff, with two assisting in the office, and
crews working in the parks and at a warehouse where the
pigs are delivered and housed before being moved to
locations throughout Cincinnati and northern
Harkavy says that she also has fine help with her
family responsibilities. "My son is understanding, and my
husband, Matt, is truly an equal partner. He carries a
full workload as teacher, artist and property manager,
and helps at home as well.
"They understand this summer's special demands on
my time. With limited quality time, we remain steadfast
in our observance of a weekly family night," Harkavy
continues. "We choose the night and even take our dog
into consideration as we decide whether to stay at home,
play games, take turns cooking dinner, watch TV or go to
"Artworks has a dedicated, multi-national
executive staff, and I rely on them greatly," Harkavy
reports. "We keep in touch, and with 800 clients
represented as sponsors or artists in the Big Pig Gig,
continuity is vital to staying on top of our varied
"I must add, however, that we are rewarded daily
by the fantastic response as an entire city comes
together in support of a single, fun-filled art project.
August 2000 NFC