Sandy Spring Friends School



SSFS Wildebeest Statue Gets a Makeover!

SSFS Wildebeest Statue Gets a Makeover!

On June 5, Johanna Cowie, SSFS Archivist and member of the Inquiry Guide Team, unveiled the wildebeest statue's most recent art installation together with the PK3 class, who helped create the new look for the 'Beest's belly! 

Stacked pieces of wood cut and drilled by Upper School Woodworking teacher David Hickson were set in a spiral, painted by our youngest Springers, and given multiple coats of marine varnish by Johanna. The colorful designs now spin delightfully in the wind! The wildebeest is looking especially spiffy these days, as it also sports a new beaded beard and tail created by Upper School students during their community service Intersession in March. 

Johanna and Wildebeest Statue 2024
Wildebeest Statue

History of the Wildebeest Statue
The wildebeest statue was a community art project, and first arrived on campus in 2012 as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.

The 'Beest was a truly collaborative project:

  • SSFS faculty and parents came up with the original design for the statue;  
  • An alumni family donated the steel used to create it (steel that had been used to barricade the Capitol just after 9/11); 
  • MS and US students helped to prep, cut, and weld the materials; 
  • MS students and faculty-staff contributed to the chainmail that created the texture in the wildebeest's face; and 
  • LS classes made the beads that were part of the truss pattern in the "belly" of the Beest for its first 12 years. 
Wildebeest Statue Triangles with Signatures

The triangles originally in the 'Beest's belly--representing the SSFS truss graphic and signed by everyone who was on campus at the time--held up pretty well for over a decade, but eventually, the elements took their toll, which is when Johanna proposed the new art installation. Some of the signed triangles that were part of the original installation of the statue are in the SSFS archives. Any SSFS "lifers" in next year's graduating class—Class of 2025—would have been in PK4 at the time, and among the youngest to sign a triangle in the 2011-2012 school year! 

Wildebeest Statue


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