Tuscaloosa’s Friendly Monsters: Kids’ Creations Come to Life
October 11, 2021
If you’ve ever strolled around Government Plaza or Downtown Tuscaloosa, chances are you’ve seen a small bronze monster statue or two. More than just a public art piece, these cute little critters have a decade-long tradition behind them.
The Monster Makeover began as a project with 1st and 2nd grade classes of Tuscaloosa County Elementary Schools. Students would imagine a fun monster, draw their unique creation and provide a description. Local artists would then sign up to create a piece inspired by one of these monsters. These one-of-a-kind art pieces were then auctioned off to benefit the West Alabama Community Education Art Institution Fund.
During a trip to Greenville, South Carolina, The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama was inspired by their Mice on Main project. This exhibit united the community by allowing families and tourists alike to hunt for bronze mice throughout Main Street. This project sparked the idea of bringing the Monster Makeover project to life and adding tiny monster sculptures throughout Tuscaloosa.
The public art sculpture class at the University of Alabama took on the challenge of turning the students’ creations into 3D metal sculptures. The class created a series for both Downtown Tuscaloosa and the Riverwalk.
Sadly, some of these statues from the newly-named Monster Takeover project, have been taken from their locations. Due to the nature of this project, these monster sculptures are one-of-a-kind, and can’t be recreated when they are stolen.
“As ideal as a place like the Riverwalk is, because that’s where families are walking, it’s maybe not so great for this kind of project because it’s a little bit more secluded and people obviously feel free to take them away,” shares Craig Wedderspoon, Professor of Sculpture at The University of Alabama. Out of the 19 monsters created for the Riverwalk, only a handful remain.
Looking ahead, there are plans to release a third generation of bigger monsters with a revised anchoring system to discourage theft. We can’t wait to see what location these monsters “takeover” next! For more information, visit https://www.monstertakeover.com/.