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New life for Hart’s famous dinosaur

By this time next summer, the City of Binghamton will be overrun by dinosaurs of the Gronk variety — each painted in a unique design by a local artist. Gronk was created by the award-winning cartoonist-creator of the B.C. comic strip, Johnny Hart, who died last year. His grandson, Mason Mastroianni, has taken over the comic strip and lent his talents to the final sculpture design.

The 5-by-5-foot sculptures will be made of fiberglass and mounted on a concrete base for public display, and it’s hoped they will draw visitors to Binghamton.
“It’s quite unusual and exciting,” Assemblywoman

Donna Lupardo said at the kick-off news conference held June 9 at the University Downtown Center. “While these visitors are here, they’ll enjoy our area and our city, and hopefully, stay” to take in the artistic depth of the community, she added.
Lupardo, along with Binghamton Mayor Matthew Ryan, co-chairs the honorary committee for the dinosaur exhibition.

Plans are for the dinosaurs to be painted at local galleries, providing another opportunity to see the creations evolve. Following their summer 2009 display around the City of Binghamton, the dinosaurs are expected migrate to the Oakdale Mall.

Mastroianni noted that his grandfather would have loved this project and he himself “can’t wait to see what the artists come up with.” Mastroianni said he will also be writing some B.C. strips to draw nationwide attention to the sculpture project, “much in the fashion of what my grandfather did for the B.C. Open.”

According to Don Bernardo, senior trust officer for Visions Federal Credit Union and leader of the sculpture effort, in addition to creating a tourist attraction, organizers have fundraising in mind and will sell sponsorships and naming rights for each dinosaur.

The dinosaurs will also be auctioned at the conclusion of the exhibition in 2010, with all proceeds benefiting the Hart Scholarship at Binghamton University, as well as initiatives of Broome Community College, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Tri-Cities Opera, the Boys and Girls Club of Western Broome and Broome County Community Charities.

For more information on the project, call 743-1365.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08