They lurk all over Benicia, their little piggy selves in disguise. They adorn themselves in flowers, computer equipment, and even hippie garb. But Benicians in the know easily spot them in shops around town. And when one of these picturesque hand-painted piggy banks is spied, it offers generous hearts the chance to support area schools through a donation to the Benicia Education Foundation (BEF).

The foundation’s third annual Parade of Pigs for Kids fundraiser marches on. Nearly twenty large, ceramic piggy banks, all whimsically decorated by prominent local artists and talented students, have been displayed in local business and collecting donations in recent weeks. But now, from May 1st through May 17th, they will all be gathered at Artcentric Studios on First Street for public viewing and initial auction bidding. On May 17, during the BEF Spring Celebration, the colorful pigs will be officially auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the BEF.

Artcentric Studios, a pottery-painting studio, donated the pigs. Then well-known local artists such as Craig Britton and Nikki Back-Davis painted the pigs in fantastical designs. Suddenly there were pigs gardening, pigs dressed to dance “Swine Lake,” and more. “It’s a really great way for artists to put their creativity out there,” says BEF President Lisa Koenen.

Local students also decorated pigs. Teresa Zabrek, Parade of Pigs Coordinator, especially noted Peace Sign Piggy and Mrs. Bloom, both created by middle school children who, “just went above and beyond.” Peace Sign Piggy sport jeans and sandals, and Mrs. Bloom, vividly painted flowers and grasses. Benicia Magazine’s pig is named Sweet and Sour Pork.

The BEF encourages community support of local schools by raising money for underfunded school programs. Koenen explains that the foundation supports all Benicia schools. Its efforts financed the Accelerated Reader program used in the libraries, computer resources, scholarships for the fifth-grade outdoor education program, and the Power School system, which helps schools and parents stay connected. It also keeps school libraries and computer labs open.

The general public is invited to view the pigs at Artcentric, attend the Spring Celebration, and bid in the auction. The celebration is casual, free to attend, and will include complimentary beverages and appetizers. Whether attendees can give small or large amounts, the foundation welcomes the donation.  “If people just gave twenty-five or thirty dollars, it would make such a huge difference,” Koenen says. “We have so much more room to grow.”

When: May 1st-May 17th
Early bidding and Viewing: Artcentric Studios, May 1st-17th
Final bidding and event: May 17th during the Spring Celebration, 6-8pm


Early viewing/bidding                                                 Spring Celebration
Artcentric Studios, 733 First Street                            Veterans Memorial Hall, 1150 First Street