Cy statues honor ISU history, benefit charity


Rahemma Mayfield/Iowa State Daily

An original Cy statue in a vintage football uniform, a tribute to Jack Trice, was featured in the Ames sesquicentennial celebration and Independence Day parade and was sold as a fundraiser.

Will Fowler

Heather Johnson, executive director of Octagon Center for the Arts, painted and decorated a statue called LegaCY: A Tribute to Jack Trice, which was featured in the Fourth of July parade.

Johnson’s work was sponsored by the Weitz Company.

“They were looking to celebrate Ames, so I thought of Jack Trice,” said Johnson. “He has such a legacy. That’s why I named it LegaCy–to honor him and what he represents.”

The Weitz Company is also managing construction on Jack Trice Stadium.

The statue is painted holding a football wearing the ISU football uniform design from Jack Trice’s time. Part of Trice’s famous letter, found in his jacket after the game that resulted in his death, is painted in white on the football:

“The honor of my race, my family and my self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I WILL. My whole body and soul are to be thrown recklessly about the field tomorrow.”

“It’s a very poignant quote that represents him and how much he wanted to do great for the football team,” Johnson said. “I originally wanted the football number and Trice name, but I couldn’t do that because of some trademark stuff with the university.”

Johnson said that although she faced many challenges in making her statue, she worked hard on it for the charities and to grow as an artist. She worked four hours a day for two weeks to make it.

Johnson’s statue is just one of many Cy statues being made by the group CyclONE City, formed by Leadership Ames to raise money for charity. The artists make statues that are sponsored by businesses or auctioned to private owners.

“Some businesses are buying a statue or temporarily sponsoring one,” said Sarah Battani, co-chairwoman of the CyclONE City artists’ committee. “All proceeds benefit charities as well as a scholarship to Iowa State University for an Ames resident.”

Mainstream Living, Youth and Shelter Services and the Emergency Residence Project are among the charities that the statues will benefit.

Battani said the idea received very strong support within Leadership Ames.

“It just felt like the right thing to do,” Battani said.

The other statues will be paraded on tour in the fall, and some will be available for auction after the tour.