What A Hoot! Coxsackie, NY. A cartoonish owl perched on a branch.

"Freedom" the owl in Coxsackie park
Melanie Lekocevic / Columbia-Greene Media
Artist Ellen De Lucia created the owl "Freedom" to give artists an idea of what a finished owl can look like. The Hoot of the Owl Committee is seeking dozens of artists who want to participate in the public art exhibit.

Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:30 am

By Melanie Lekocevic Columbia-Greene Media

COXSACKIE – Catskill has its cats, Cairo has bears, and Ravena had trains. Now, it’s Coxsackie’s turn.

A volunteer committee has been working for several months to get a new project off the ground – Hoot of the Owl, a public art exhibit that will bring sculptures of creatively decorated owls to the community.

Owls have long been the symbol of Coxsackie; indeed, some translations of the name “Coxsackie” – said to be of Native American extraction – are thought to reference owls, according to an article by Coxsackie Town Historian Michael Rausch on the town website.

Committee members have been lining up sponsors – local businesses and individuals – who are willing to sponsor an individual owl at a cost of $500. More than 30 sponsors have already signed on, and as many as 40 could participate when all is said and done.

Now, the group is looking for artists who would be willing to lend their talents and their creative eye to decorating an owl.

Like the Catskill cats, once completed each owl will be posted at locations around the village for several months, and later auctioned off at an extravagant gala.

Visitors to last week’s Coxsackie Farmers Market got a taste of what is possible in creating an owl when local artist Ellen De Lucia put on display an owl she created, just to get the creative juices flowing around town.

“When we started, we decided to buy one owl prototype and have Ellen De Lucia paint it to give people an idea of what it would look like,” said Committee Chair Joseph Ellis, also a village trustee. “We made a lot of design changes to the prototype, like making the eyes the big focus.”

De Lucia’s owl has a patriotic theme and has been dubbed “Freedom,” but the design ideas are limited only by the artist’s imagination.

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