Wichita — Chicago had its cows, and Cincinnati boasted its pigs. In Lawrence, the public art craze is Jayhawks on Parade.
On Wednesday, Wichita unveiled its public sculpture project -- Plane Crazy.
The fleet of 31 whimsical airplane sculptures will decorate the streets of Wichita until they are auctioned in September.
"This is very unique for Wichita -- and it should be -- because we are the air capital of the world," Mayor Carlos Mayans said.
Wichita has long billed itself the airplane capital of the world because of its concentration of airplane manufacturing plants. The city is home to four major airplane manufacturing plants -- owned by Boeing, Cessna Aircraft, Raytheon Aircraft and Bombardier Aerospace -- and more than 60 aviation subcontractors.
The public debut of the entire fleet of sculptures will be May 10, when the planes will be the focus of a scavenger hunt at the Wichita River Festival.
Wichita's public sculptures will help raise money for charity; it has already brought in $150,000 in donations, Mayans says.
The sculptures will also bring in more charitable donations when they are ultimately auctioned off Sept. 20 at the Wichita Aviation Festival. About 70 percent of the money from the sale will benefit the charity of the sponsor's choice, with the remaining funds going to Arts Council for regional art education programs.
Some 68 artists were matched up with 43 sponsors to complete the airplanes. Sponsors selected the planes from a portfolio of designs submitted by 137 artists.