About the time Roy's boys hit the road to the Final Four in March, a more motley flock of hawks will land in Lawrence.
Paint and other creative adornments will replace the crimson and blue feathers of the Kansas University Jayhawk on some 30 fiberglass sculptures that will roost around town.
Jayhawks on Parade, an art-icon event inspired by similar undertakings with cows in Kansas City and Dala horses in Lindsborg, will put 5-foot-tall Jayhawk sculptures decorated by area artists on display to attract out-of-town visitors, celebrate Lawrence's artistic temperament and benefit charitable organizations.
"We view it as an event that can bring the community and the university together around one fun project," said Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Everybody can rally around something that we know and love and have some fun with it, and at the same time benefit a lot of different facets."
Artists will be required to submit their designs to a jury of organizing committee members and university representatives, who will then forward the accepted ideas to sponsors. The Jayhawk sculptures, which will arrive after the first of the year, will be three-dimensional blank canvases, ready for whatever an artist conjures up, within reason.
"The university fully understands that this is the creative process," Billings said. "They don't want anything obscene, of course, so the design will have to be juried."
The finished works will be installed at locations throughout the city in clusters called "Hawks' Nests," where they will remain from the start of March Madness through fall 2003. At exhibit's end, sponsors will donate their birds to charitable organizations, which can keep the work or sell it to raise money.
Organizers are aware that vandalism is almost certain to occur, as it has with the city's Outdoor-Downtown Sculpture Exhibition. They plan to open a "Hawks Clinic" the public can visit to watch damaged pieces be repaired.
Lawrence painter Karla Nathan said she and two of her artist friends hoped to decorate one of the sculptures.
"I think any time the community gets involved with art, it's a good thing for the artists and a good thing that people are coming into town to see all the art Lawrence has to offer," Nathan said.
The Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Lawrence Inc. and Kansas University are organizing the event. They plan to develop a brochure with a map of each sculpture's location, a Web site, parade merchandise and a hardcover book documenting the exhibit.