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Artistic Wolves to Roam Raleigh

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RALEIGH — Raleigh is about to be invaded by a pack of wolves -- but not the kind you might expect. By September, as many as 100 fiberglass wolves will be painted and placed all around the city.

Do not expect these animals to look anything like the real thing. Kyle Highsmith's vision is quite colorful.

Highsmith has the task of creating an example of what wolves, placed all around Raleigh, could look like. He had fun coming up with a James Dean-like image.

"It's suppose to be the tough, lone wolf personality with sort of a soft heart -- somebody that's misunderstood," says the Raleigh artist.

Highsmith says the public art project, sponsored by the Raleigh Arts Commission, will be fun for artistsandresidents who come to see what has been dreamed up.

Similar projects were done with cows in New York andChicago, moose in Toronto andpigs in Cincinnati.

One of the hardest tasks for organizers was selecting the animal to paint.

After thoughts of squirrels, pigs and possums, the president of the Raleigh Arts Commission says the group finally decided on the red wolf. There are less than 200 of the animals in existence.

"The red wolf is a very special animal to eastern North Carolina. It's an endangered species and most of the red wolves that are still alive are in eastern North Carolina," says Joseph Covington, who says he was partial to possums.

The first wolves will be up in time for the First Friday gallery walk in September.

"It will be more than just art in a museum since it will be spread all over the city. Just finding wolf after wolf will be an adventure," says Highsmith.

The temporary exhibit will come down on New Year's Eve 2001 as part of first night festivities. After that they will be sold in auction to the highest bidder.


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