If you have driven through Lot 1 by Riggs Alumni Center and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, you have probably seen the blue bird that sits just off the side of the road. The five-foot bird statue was once a part of an art promotion designed to increase tourism throughout Prince George’s County. The idea was adopted from Washington, D.C.’s “Party Animal” and Baltimore’s “Fish Out of Water” campaigns that were both very successful in attracting visitors to their cities.
The public arts campaign, which debuted in 2003, encouraged local artists to exercise their creativity by decorating the statue of a blue bird, Prince George’s County’s official bird. Strategically placed in high traffic areas, the birds gave visitors a chance to admire local art while learning a bit of Prince George’s County history.
The musically themed “Blues Bird” statue was created by Michele Colburn and was placed on campus by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center through the generosity of Patsy Mote, wife of UMD President C.D. Mote, Jr.