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New "Papa Bird" statue exemplifies Quillen family legacy at Virginia Tech

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A new HokieBird statue has landed at Dietrick Hall and is accompanied by "The Spirit of Tech" statue which formally resided at McComas Hall and Squires Student Center.  The two statues affectionately called "Mama Bird" and "Papa Bird" are being installed ahead of the dedication to the Quillen Spirit Plaza.  Artist Heather Gearhart discusses the process in painting these statues, and Hunter Quillen Gresham shares about the special meaning behind of the symbols painted on "Papa Bird." 

Read more about the HokieBird statues in this story.
[Heather Gearhart] "The canvas is flat. It's a little bit easier. The HokieBird is three dimensional. So, if you're going to paint something on it, it doesn't turn out exactly like you would a flat canvas. So, the tail, it's concave. It's kind of unique that there are two. So, I have one that was original HokieBird, that's about 15 years old. So I restored that one. My daughter and I actually restored that one together." [Hunter Quillen Gresham] "Mom's has a lot of decoupage pictures from old bugles and annuals, including pictures of herself and of my little brother in their respective roles when they were here." [Heather Gearhart] "We also are now doing an original HokieBird design and it's what we're lovingly calling Papa Bird. And it's a unique design that I came up with along with Hunter. It's got a lot of designs on the back with original logos of Virginia Tech throughout the years. It's going to take a lot of work, but I'm excited about it too." [Hunter Quillen Gresham] "My grandfather graduated from Virginia Tech in 1940 and was a member of the Corps. And then you go all the way down to my youngest brother who graduated. So we wanted to represent all of the generations and the years and decades of Virginia Tech. You know, there's a lunch pail that the bird is holding and iconography and stickers on that lunch pail that represent pieces of our family's past, like my dad's fraternity when he was here. Sort of to balance out the bird, there's a Gate City High School class ring. The bird kind of crosses his arms and so that was a throw back home. But on the other arm to balance it out, it's very tattoo-esque. But it has four quadrants. And there's the compass rose pointing north, and for us that was just education and future and the idea that there's always something bigger. There's the state of Virginia with a heart and Southwest Virginia, SWVA. On other side is Ut Prosim which everybody of course who's affiliated with Virginia Tech knows. And then probably my favorite section of that arm tattoo, there's Hokie tracks. That's to represent my grandfather, my mother and my father, And then the three of us, myself and my two brothers. But they all go one direction except for one and it's flipped the other way, and that's me the person who decided not to graduate from Virginia Tech." [Heather Gearhart] "It means a lot and these HokieBirds will last a lifetime. They're something that students will see as they come into Tech campus and people get their pictures taken with them. I think that's really cool that the students will see them and it's kind of a legacy that we'll leave through a lifetime."