If you drive by Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, you might notice two eight foot replicas of Vulcan, the city’s famous Roman god of fire and forge. They’re a part of a new civic art project called “Vulcans on Parade.” WBHM’s Gina Yu was at the unveiling yesterday morning.
People gathered in the stark sunshine of Railroad Park early Wednesday morning. They congregated in front of two figures draped in white fabric. It’s the unveiling of the Vulcans on Parade project.
A Local Parade
Vulcans on Parade is a collaboration between Project Corporate Leadership and the Vulcan Park and Museum. The mini Vulcans will be painted by local artists and placed all over the city. The first statue, painted by Carrie McGrann, will stay at Railroad Park, and the second statue, painted by Paul Cordes Wilm, will be placed at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Morgan Berney, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, for Vulcan Park and Museum is proud of the project.
“Vulcans on Parade is a symbolic tribute to our city and the growth of what is happening here in Birmingham,” she said. “Vulcan has stood over Birmingham for 111 years and is that unifying symbol of our city.”
A Celebration for Progress
This concept of placing painted replicas around a city was first brought to the U.S. by Chicago in 1999, when painted cows on parade filled the streets. Since then, cities like Washington D.C. have pandas, San Francisco has hearts, and now Birmingham, Vulcans. Earl F. Hilliard, Jr., Chair of the Vulcan Board of Directors, believes that projects like these will only further Birmingham’s progress.
“By putting them on parade, it’s a way of not only building morale but showing that the city of Birmingham, we’re growing. We’re, as they said, forging ahead,” he said. “Using local artists, representing the movement that the city’s doing by the growth of all the different things we’re trying to do from construction and other things.”
The group’s goal is to place at least 20 Vulcan statues around Birmingham over the next year.