Fairmount town limits sign.

Indiana County Enshrines Cartoon Cat Garfield

Garfield's creator, artist Jim Davis, grew up in Indiana's Delaware County, so a group of towns are erecting 5-foot tall statues of the famous feline. At least five statues are planned -- one was dedicated in Van Buren in mid-August in front of the town library. This Garfield stands on a book pile; another Garfield, wearing a leather jacket a la James Dean, will be unveiled this week in Dean's hometown of Fairmount (Dean by himself may be fading as a local tourist draw, evidenced by the recent closing of the James Dean Gallery).

Cartoonist Davis still lives in the area, near Albany. Garfield statues will also find homes in Marion, Sweetser and Swayzee.

The attempt to boost local Garfield fan tourism is well meaning, but may get lost in the profusion of Community Art Projects clogging the nation's sidewalks, where towns have artists decorate dozens of identical fiberglass statues of animals, cartoon characters and other figures.

[08/22/2006]

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