Skip to content

Herky on Parade Statue Features Linn-Mar Student Artwork

The creative touch of a Linn-Mar student is being showcased in Iowa City and during the Coralville Fourth of July parade this summer.

“Herky de los Muertos,” a design crafted by Linn-Mar junior Autumn Zaehringer, is both a celebration of diversity and a showcase of student creativity as part of Herky on Parade, Iowa’s largest public art installation.

This vibrant design, blending Day of the Dead themes with the University of Iowa’s spirit, was brought to life in the form of a six-foot Herky statue. Over three months, Autumn dedicated more than 60 hours to painting the statue in her home in Cedar Rapids.  Dual-enrolled as a homeschool student, Autumn balances her academic pursuits with her artistic passion.

We asked Autumn a few questions about her art:

Linn-Mar student Autumn Zaehringer and Herky

Linn-Mar student Autumn Zaehringer and Herky

What art classes have you taken, and what projects do you most enjoy?
I’ve taken three art courses at Linn-Mar: Design Art Basics, Beginning Drawing, and Beginning Painting. My favorite assignment was making sculptures in Design Art. The assignment helped me become more creative because we had to design our own animal, as well as make something 3D instead of a 2D illustration on paper as most art classes do.

What made you want to get involved with Herky on Parade?
I got involved with Herky on Parade because I wanted to create art pieces for the community while gaining hands-on experience. I actually submitted two designs and ‘Herky De Los Muertos’ got picked!

Tell us about your specific Herky design.
In ‘Herky de los Muertos,’ I infuse the robust spirit of the Iowa Hawkeye’s mascot, Herky, with the vibrant and solemn essence of the Day of the Dead. It symbolizes the beauty and unity found in the confluence of different traditions. I hope that this artwork will not only bring joy and reflection but also ignite conversations about the richness of cultural diversity and foster a deep appreciation for the various backgrounds that color our world.

Where can people see your work?
Herky is typically located outside of Pancheros in downtown Iowa City. You can also see him during the 4th of July Parade in Coralville on the Gilcrest Jewett float (the company that sponsored this piece). All 100 Herkys also will be together, on display, during Fry Fest at the end of August.

What’s next for you?
I will be a junior during 2024-2025 school year. I’ll be taking concurrent classes with Kirkwood in the fall, as well as a few homeschool courses! During the spring/summer, I also participate in chalk festivals in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. My goal is to reach as many professional chalk events that I can… both domestically and internationally.

More information about Autumn’s statue.

Interactive map to find all the Herky statues.