Beasties™ Safari, sponsored by Blue Moon
Artist Recruitment

About Beasties™ Safari

We are inviting local artists to participate in Beasties™ Safari, sponsored by Blue Moon, a public art project presented by the Zoological Society of Milwaukee to raise funds for the refurbishment of the elephant exhibit area at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

You may be familiar with Beasties, the lovable creatures created by Milwaukee artist Dennis Pearson. Dennis has crafted two poses of the iconic Beasties specifically for the Zoological Society project. The Beasties will be sponsored by various Milwaukee businesses and individuals, painted by local artists whose designs have been selected by sponsors, and then displayed throughout the metro Milwaukee and Waukesha area during summer 2018. At the end of the Safari, the Beasties will be auctioned with proceeds benefiting the refurbishment of the elephant exhibit area at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Submit A Design

BeastiesWe are looking for local artists 18 and older who would like to participate in the design and painting process. Please note, this is not a contest -- individuals who submit designs are expected to complete the execution of the design if selected for sponsorship. As a first step, interested artists should submit one or more Standing Beastie or Beastie Bench designs to for consideration. The designs may represent an actual zoo animal (no mythical creatures) or a representation of the ecology, topography, climate, or other aspects of Africa. Please see the list of design criteria below. Feel free to submit one or more designs for consideration. Beasties are being sold now, so get your designs in early for the best chances to be chosen! The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2017.

Once we receive your design(s), it will be reviewed by a Design Committee to ensure compliance with the guidelines. Each accepted design will then be made available to sponsors for selection. If your design is chosen by a sponsor for implementation, you will be contacted to sign an Artist Letter of Agreement.

Artists who are chosen for implementation will receive a $750 stipend for completing a Beastie. Payments will be made at the following intervals:  $250 upon completion of the contract, $250 upon completion of the Beastie, and $250 upon completion of touch-up and auction prep after the Beastie comes off public display. Paint and clear coat materials will be supplied by our paint sponsor, PPG. Artists may choose to complete the Beastie at our Beastie Barn (preferred) or at an approved off-site location.

Beastie Design Criteria

  1. Two different Beastie poses – bench and standing – are available for decoration. Artists may elect to decorate either or both poses.
  2. Designs are to be consistent with the theme Beasties Safari.
  3. Animal-related designs are required, and unique interpretations are encouraged. All real animal types are acceptable (Africa preferred, but not required) – no mythical or imaginary creatures. Designs may be realistic or creative, playful and whimsical.
  4. The artist may paint, sculpt, transform and adorn the Beastie as long as the structural integrity is not compromised. The Beastie must maintain the ability to be attached at the base by the feet. Enhancements are acceptable, but must be reflected in the design submission.
  5. Objects may be attached or molded onto the Beastie as part of the design, but must be permanently affixed so they may not be removed – for example, thin or narrow attachments like tails may be snapped off. Attached objects should also take into consideration natural elements (e.g. rain collecting in crevices, etc.)
  6. Beasties will be placed in areas fully accessible to the public, typically outdoors. The design should take into consideration weather and other elements of nature, including sun, rain, wind and dirt.
  7. The public may touch and feel the Beasties. Designs should be created with durability and public safety in mind.
  8. Designs and/or images cannot contain any of the following:
    • Religious ideology or symbols
    • Political ideology or symbols
    • Controversial messages
    • Military or organizational insignia, emblems or symbols
    • Corporate or business logos or advertising images
  9. Designs may not be sexual or suggestive in nature.
  10. Design content may not hurt the personal integrity or image of a third party.


  • The Beasties are manufactured using a mixture of Class II Fire Retardant Laminating Resin and chopped roving fiberglass over an initial brushed-on layer of polyester gel coat. Then several layers of chopped strand matting fiberglass are hand-laid, wetted with the laminating resin to the point of full saturation. The Beastie poses may be altered by the artist, so long as they remain structurally intact. Bondo should be used if altering the Beastie (cutting, sculpting or adhering). Full details on the recommended method of altering the Beastie will be provided to artists selected to complete Beasties.
  • Each Beastie will arrive with a white primer coat applied by the manufacturer. A second primer coat recommended by paint sponsor PPG will be provided for application by the artist OR will be applied by the paint sponsor PPG prior to execution.
  • Artists may produce their designs at the Beastie Barn, 7624 S. 10th St., Oak Creek, WI, 53154, (preferred) or in their approved studios. Artists will be responsible for picking up and transporting the Beastie to any location outside the Beastie Barn.
  • Each Beastie must be finished with at least one topcoat of a non-reactive, non-toxic, UV-resistant and waterproof clear lacquer as applied by the artist OR as applied by PPG.
  • Before the finished Beastie is placed on exhibit, the Beastie must be inspected by a Zoological Society of Milwaukee representative to confirm that it has been completed in substantial conformity with the artist’s approved design. Inspection place and time to be determined.
  • All Beasties will require touch-up and cleaning prior to the auction. Artists are expected to be available to make these touch-ups during the weeks preceding the auction.
  • Because of the time required for preparation and installation, artists must return their finished Beasties to the Barn no later than April 2, 2018.


If you have questions about this project, please submit them to