The strangest occurrence has been happening at the Dayner household in the Elm Ridge neighborhood in Hopewell Township — someone has secretly been decorating their life-sized art ox with festive seasonal hats. It’s random acts (ox) of kindness!
Each of the hats, beginning with the pilgrim hat, are weather-proof and constructed creatively with found materials.
The Christmas hat is made of ornaments and actually has battery powered holiday lights. And the Valentine’s Day adornment is a crown of roses and a heart necklace.
Sue Dayner said she had been admiring the Hopewell Valley Arts Council Stampede since it began but her interest increased when she, as a parent of a Hopewell Elementary School (HES) first grader, followed closely and rallied for HES in their bid for Tyson, the ox that the school decorated.
“I was really hopeful that the kids would keep Tyson, so I followed the auction carefully,” said Dayner.
And when her birthday coincided with the online ox auction, her husband decided to surprised her with one as a birthday present. And they proudly placed it in their yard and joke that they hope the neighbors don’t mind the view.
“So many people stop to look at it. It is so cheerful — we hope it brings happiness to those who see it,” said Dayner.
And the sentimentality of this ox started back when Kevan Lunney, Oxtentatious’s artist was creating its multi-colored appearance.
“Unlike any other favorite piece of art work, somehow he became more than a project and a little like a pet! After he sold I was extremely happy to know he was with a wonderful family and would be lovingly cared for,” said Lunney.
Kevan Lunney is a local fiber artist with a background in fashion design who was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this Stampede opportunity so near to home.
“It was a great way to meet more local artists and become acquainted with the new Hopewell Valley Arts Council,” said Lunney. “My goal was to create a design that could be realized in fabric, be interesting from a distance and also offer something to see when viewed up close. There is a list of twenty or so tiny pictures that can be searched for in the fabric patterns. Some of these were chosen to represent members of my family. My father was a pilot, (airplanes) my daughter went to Australia for study abroad (koala) and my son is an artist who designs with light and sound (fireflies). I chose a landscape with sunrise, lush with color to symbolize the abundance of the valley, and the hope and promise of prosperity there.”
Sue Dayner says that, as someone who loves fabric and quilting, Oxtentatious was a perfect fit for her.
But who is decorating the ox? The artist Kevan Lunney vehemently denies it is her doing. The Dayners have pressed several of their friends and neighbors with no luck. No one knows but it certainly helps keep the excitement of the Hopewell Valley Stampede alive!