17:27 PM

Public art project Bucky on Parade debuts today; includes AmFam's "Spark A Dream" Bucky

85 life-size Bucky Badger statues are on display in and around Madison, Wisconsin


The free public art event brings life-size statues of the beloved University of Wisconsin-Madison mascot, Bucky Badger, to the streets of Madison and Dane County. Local and regional artists have transformed these Bucky statues into unique works of art, all to benefit charity.


Bucky on Parade, a free public art event bringing 85 life-size Bucky Badger University of Wisconsin-Madison mascot statues to the streets of Madison and Dane County from May 7 to September 12, debuted today with a simultaneous unveiling of all the statues at 11 a.m.

Local and regional artists have transformed six-foot-tall tall Bucky Badger statues into works of art. Visitors will see whimsical and colorful designs featuring everything from sports to science – and beyond. American Family Insurance is an event sponsor, with a Bucky entitled "Spark A Dream." Spark A Dream is located outside DreamBank on Madison's Capitol Square.

There were several rules regarding what could be shown on the statue; for example, no company logos or symbols were permitted, so the AmFam logo or even the roofline visual could not be used.

Spark A Dream Bucky was painted by Mount Horeb, Wisconsin artist Barbara Westfall.

“The dream is an important theme of the mural,” said Westfall. “Bucky’s face is painted as if he is dreaming, with his eyes partially closed. Throughout the mural, nine dream clouds are painted – each with an image emerging from the cloud, displaying key concepts that are important to American Family, including community, protect, dedication, inspiration, restore and more.” Read more here about all the visual elements of "Spark the Dream" and what they symbolize.

The Madison Area Sports Commission is the producer of the event, with support from Visit Madison and in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW Athletics and Wisconsin Alumni. Event proceeds will support Garding Against Cancer and other community charities.

To add even more to the charitable aspect of American Family's sponsorship, each time someone posts of photo of him or herself on Twitter with "Spark A Dream" Bucky and tags it #BuckyonParade and #AmFamBucky, the American Family Dreams Foundation will donate an additional $5 per post to the charities, up to $10,000.

“American Family is happy to support this community art project featuring our beloved Bucky Badger," said Judd Schemmel, American Family Insurance community investment director. "There have been so many amazing interpretations offered through the creativity of local artists, including Barbara Westfall, artist for the “Spark A Dream” Bucky. This event will bring enjoyment all summer to residents and visitors alike. Having Spark A Dream Bucky right ouside DreamBank is sure to serve as a beautiful inspiration to dream fearlessly, and the best part is proceeds from Bucky on Parade will go to charitable causes.” (Judd Schemmel is pictured at right with artist Barbara Westfall prior to the unveiling.)

To access a map to see where all 85 Buckys will be displayed throughout downtown Madison and Dane County, and to learn more details about the project, visit 

Following the September 12 close of the event, Spark A Dream Bucky will be permanently displayed in American Family's Spark building, currently under construction in Madison.

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About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 315 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Web; Facebook; Twitter

About American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation
The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation, Inc. builds on our long-standing commitment and support of our communities. As our mission has evolved from corporate giving to community investing, we’ve turned our focus to creating strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations that have helped us strengthen both families and communities.