Smokey IX makes his debut as the Vols' mascot in the season opener against UNLV Sept. 5.
May 19, 2004
The University of Tennessee Athletic Department in partnership with the Dogwood Arts Festival and the City of Knoxville announced today plans for "Hounds on the Town." This project, featuring Smokey, will follow the same concept as the bears from "Bearfoot in the City" produced by the Dogwood Arts Festival in 2003.
"Local artists had advocated the use of either bears or hounds for our public art projects," said Ed Pasley, executive director of the Dogwood Arts Festival. "After a popular campaign with the bears and knowing how close to the hearts of East Tennesseans the blue tick hound is, we're even more excited about seeing the creative hound concepts hit the streets of Knoxville in September."
Creative planning and design of the canines is scheduled to begin in June, with a debut scheduled for the first week of September 2004.
"This is a unique opportunity for the athletics department to partner with the arts for a community-wide event," said Mike Hamilton, men's athletic director. "The beginning date of `Hounds on the Town' could not come at a better time with the first weekend in September as we kickoff a four-game homestand."
In conjunction with UT's involvement, football head coach Phillip Fulmer and men's basketball head coach Buzz Peterson will be painting hounds with their families for the exhibit.
In October 2004 smaller versions of the hounds will be given to area schools for younger artists to apply their own creative twists. Both large and small hounds will have special recognition and events in April 2005. Auctioning of the smaller hounds will begin in May 2005 and all proceeds will benefit arts education in Knox County Schools. The larger hounds will be groomed and sent to auction in September 2005 with proceeds going to benefit the Dogwood Arts Festival as well as scholarships for Tennessee Athletics.
"Hounds on the Town is a creative and fun way to showcase the artistic talent we enjoy locally and benefit some great causes," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "The combination of Tennessee athletics, the Dogwood Arts Festival and our local schools is a team that can't be beat."
Last year's "Bearfoot in the City" saw $17,500 donated to Knox County Schools, as well as the Arts and Culture Alliance and Dogwood Arts Festival split $30,000 in campaign proceeds.