Hokie Bird owners share memories of their experiences

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Gobble de Art is a public art project of the Blacksburg Partnership, a public-private economic development organization in Blacksburg. Gobble de Art was launched in 2006 in an effort to promote visual arts in the community while also celebrating the spirit of the Virginia Tech mascot, the Hokie Bird. At that time, more than 75 birds were commissioned, many of which are still on display around town.

Today, you can still commission your own 5-foot tall Hokie Bird to be painted, purchase a unique limited edition 2-foot tall bird for your home or office or choose from many Gobble de Art gift items in their store. The organization’s 5′ Hokie Birds are known as a statement piece to the Blacksburg community. This unique piece of artwork is crafted, hand-painted and completed during a special process.

Recently, Gobble de Art asked four of its previous Hokie Statue purchasers if they would share a few memories about their experience.


Fitness Hokie Bird

Artist: Heather Gearhart

“When my wife was approaching 50 I knew I had to come up big.  My wife and I both attended VT “back in the day” and when a friend and fellow alum mentioned these Gobble de Art Hokie Birds and suggested that as a gift, I didn’t even know that was a thing.  But what a brilliant idea!!

I reached out and from beginning to end the process was amazing.  I plunked down my deposit and was assigned an amazing artist Heather and we got to work.

We went through a visioning phase that turned into sketches, and eventually a finished Hokie Bird.  I can’t say enough about how generous Heather was with her ideas, time, and artistic brilliance.  The finished product is 100% personalized to my wife and her journey at Virginia Tech.   What an amazing process to start with a completely blank canvas and collaborate with such a talented artist to create a unique work of art.

Under cloud of secrecy, I made a quick trip to Blacksburg, “shoe horned” that baby into the back of my SUV, and snuck it back home to Falls Church.  The unveiling was incredible. My wife loves it and I am a hero among our Hokie friends.   Now the Hoke Bird presides over our screened porch and all visitors are required to have their picture taken with our Hokie Bird.” — Anthony B.


Hampton Inn Hokie Bird

Artist: Heather Gearhart

“We wanted a Hokie statue because we wanted to show our pride in being part of the Hokie community.  Working with a designer was a wonderful experience.  I wanted to showcase hospitality and what it means to us to take care of our guests.  Working in a hotel so close to Virginia Tech means we regularly welcome guests from all over the world.  It is important to us to be ambassadors for our community to show our guests how friendly and welcoming our community is.  For many guests, it is their first visit to the New River Valley, or to Virginia, or in many cases, their first visit to the United States.   Our designer was able to convey the bigger picture in how travel makes the world smaller with how many connections we make each day with people from around the globe.  We are proud to be part of this community.”

— Kayla Orr


Big Hokie Fan

Artist: Carole Davis

“My husband graduated in 91’ and we both are from right outside the Roanoke Valley, so we grew up knowing all about the Hokies and because he went there, obviously was a huge fan. Our Hokie Bird came as a surprise on Christmas morning from my wonderful Husband. I heard them go oh my gosh and as I came down the steps and turned the corner I was like “huh”? I literally just screamed and started crying. I couldn’t speak because we all love the Hokie Bird but I am slightly obsessed with the Bird  so when I saw it, I about died. I was so excited, I couldn’t speak and I started crying and when I finally got it

together I said I love it! I started a thing where I was going to get my picture taken with each one, I was going to find them all and I had a list from which I posted them with the hashtag #birdhunt. So when this happened I thought, “Oh my gosh, I know have my own #birdhunt!”. My husband actually kept it a secret for the entire time that he was doing it. The story of getting it is comical too because he went up the Thursday before Christmas to get it and hid it in our neighbors garage and then got it Christmas morning and put it in our basement. It was by far the best surprise.

We love our Hokie Bird!”

— Jill Thomas


All Hokies Great and Small

Artist: Candace Monaghan

“The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Class of 2018 chose to donate a Hokie Bird as our class gift in order to commemorate the full transition of the medical school into the Virginia Tech academic community as the 9th college of VT in July 2018. The artistic design that was selected features Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Star in front of imagery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We wanted to show our appreciation to Roanoke for the welcoming embrace they’ve given the school and our students. The feeling of belonging to the Roanoke community and the natural beauty of the surrounding area are two of the major reasons the student experience at VTCSOM is so special. Dr. Alyssa Savelli-Binsted (VT 2012, VTCSOM 2018) conceived the idea of a Hokie Bird as a special gift for our graduating year, Drs. Kevin and Nancy Dye provided additional financial backing for the donation from the class, and Dr. Juyeon Park (VTCSOM 2018) helped direct the artistic design to fit the vision and message of thanks and gratitude we wanted to share.”

— Adam Tate, VTC School of Medicine

2018 Class President