For the Fourth of July, my wife and I went up to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to see where the Declaration of Independence was signed. We were pleasantly surprised to find donkeys spread throughout the city, there to welcome out-of-town visitors.
The Democratic National Convention will take place in Philly this year, from July 25 to 28. In celebration of the big event, the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee launched the “Donkeys Around Town” program, which brought local artists together to paint 57 fiberglass donkeys, representing the fifty states, Washington, D.C., and the six U.S. territories.
The donkeys will be displayed every single day of July at popular sites and attractions throughout Philadelphia. Here is a list of all the artists involved, and here is a map of all the donkey locations around town (it is far from perfect, but gives you a rough estimate of where each donkey is). Get ready for the scavenger hunt!
Here are the 11 best donkeys I found, and one that could have been much better (sorry, Florida!).
12. Florida, the state that got the short shrift.
It’s still pretty, but not all that impressive. My wife, who is from Florida, was very disappointed.
It is a true testament to the artistry on display in the other donkeys I found that Minnesota’s representative, even with an awesome painting of Prince, is still near the back of the line. Nice going, Brad Carney!
Next Page: Some Western states — lone stars and a beautiful sunset.
This one is very pretty, and the back is very rich in Oregon culture, but I couldn’t grab a photo of it. Still, good job, Nora Einbender-Luks!
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but their donkeys are the same size… Anyway, I love the Texas map with the lone stars all across the donkey’s body — and it was even prettier in person. The back merely says “Hey Go Vote!” Still, nice work, Barbara Sosson.
8. New Mexico
This donkey captures the Native American heritage and the gorgeous colors of the Southwest. Thanks, Serena Saunders — what a sight!
Next Page: The heart of gambling and Abraham Lincoln’s birth state.
The ram’s head, the mountains, … and never forget Las Vegas! This donkey truly is “Battle Born!” Nice going, Colleen McCubbin Stepanic.
Get me some of that good ole Kentucky bourbon! In addition to the Kentucky Derby, this state also has Abraham Lincoln pride — it’s where he was born. Don’t forget Daniel Boone. Good job, Brian Cesario!
Next Page: Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Glenn!
The front of Georgia’s donkey isn’t that impressive, but the backside has two of the state’s favored sons: President Jimmy Carter and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Great work, Paul Carpenter. Check it out!
Ohio may be the scene of the Republican National Convention this year, but the artists still went all out in painting the state’s proud donkey. It features the astronaut John Glenn on the left, with him and his wife Annie at their home, and Thomas Edison on the right.
But the back is even more impressive, with four-time Olympic gold medal runner Jesse Owens, the Wright brothers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the underground railroad. What a great display of Americana! Thanks, Collin Scott.
Next Page: The runners-up, Colorado and Alaska.
Maybe this is my native Colorado pride, but I think they got this donkey just right. The Colorado flag on the face is a great feature, but as usual the back is even better. From the Rocky Mountains in the background to the Welcome sign at the state’s border, to the skiing, the moose, and even the state flower (the Columbine), this donkey nails the spirit of my home state. Once again,well done, Colleen McCubbin Stepanic!
Exquisitely done, Sarah Ryan! The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) around this donkey’s head give it the perfect mystical quality, along with Ursa Major. While the salmon and the moose connect the art to Alaska’s wildlife. Mount Denali and the forget-me-nots are also a fantastic touch.
Next Page: The best donkey of all.
This donkey blends history and art, featuring scenes from America’s founding and the beautiful outdoors of Pennsylvania. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the state seal all feature prominently. As the convention is located in Philly, it stands to reason that Pennsylvania would be one of the absolute best donkeys, and so it proved.