A Duck Tale

A Duck Tale

Carnegie Mellon University alumni have once again fit the bill in creating phenomenal art.

From the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to contractors, they have played a role in the inaugural U.S. appearance of the Rubber Duck Project by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

The Rubber Duck Project is part of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust curated by Paul Organisak, vice president of programming for the trust. The festival welcomes American premieres of visual and performance art from around the globe.

Previous versions of the duck have appeared in cities such as Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Sydney and Sao Paulo. More than 100,000 people saw its American premiere Sept. 27, and thousands have delighted in visiting the duck while anchored downtown.

"The crowd response has been unexpected. We knew we were going to have a lot of people," said Chris Craychee (A'96), who worked as a contractor on the project for six months. "The weekends have been really busy. It's just wall-to-wall people from morning to night."

Craychee works for Clear Story, a Pittsburgh-based creative services firm run by Rob Long, who studied architecture and technical theatre at Carnegie Mellon.

"At CMU I was exposed to working with people in other departments and made friendships with people in business, engineering, music and the humanities. I think that the interdisciplinary mix of people definitely helped me understand the importance of looking beyond my own discipline for ideas, support and inspiration," Long said. "I've continued to do that in my professional life."

Each city builds its own duck, and Pittsburgh's version is 40 feet tall so that it could fit under the bridges. Craychee worked to keep the rubber duck under wraps.

"We wanted to keep our tests out of the public eye as much as possible," Craychee said.

Randal Miller (HNZ'10), the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Programming Manager, is a graduate of the Master of Arts Management program. The Trust employs CMU alumni in several of its departments and has current students as interns.

Miller said he draws heavily on his education from CMU.

"The planning and execution of events like the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts require advanced organizational, analytical, and quantitative skills, which my time at CMU helped me to develop," he said. "I am also thankful for the internship opportunities my program provided which were instrumental in developing the specific skills required for my current position."

Related Links: College of Fine Arts | School of Art | Heinz College | Master of Arts Management | The Rubber Duck Project | Clear Story | Pittsburgh Cultural Trust | Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts

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