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Art Collection
“Little Bird” Meets “Fat Bird”… An Unexpected and Rare Bird

“It’s a Bird”… “It’s a Plane”… “No, wait! It’s Fat Bird!”

Fat Bird? But, what’s Fat Bird?

Fat Bird is the name for the logo and mascot used by Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. A rare bird indeed, Fat Bird, does not actually represent any particular feathered friend; although, one could argue two origins of Fat Bird with good evidence: it is a whimsical interpretation of 1) the original Nemacolin Resort Logo, or 2) the famous sculpture “Little Bird” by Fernando Botero. No matter which argument you take, you would not be wrong.

Interestingly enough, the original logo for Nemacolin was a bird. That original logo, with a bird mid flight encompassed by circular text reading “Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa”, can still be found in the original Lodge section on the Lodge Circle’s entry doors. That bird representation, as recalled by many of our most seasoned guests, is reminiscent of Pennsylvania’s state bird: the roughed grouse. This was a fitting choice for the resort’s first logo as Nemacolin was originally a remote and private hunting lodge, and whereas the grouse is a crafty creature able to conceal itself in its surroundings for privacy and for protection from hunters. Just like the grouse, families and business professionals alike have flocked to Nemacolin’s private sanctuary to escape the rigors of everyday life. Not to mention that our Fat Bird too physically resembles the roughed grouse. The State of Pennsylvania’s Symbols Manual describes the birds as “distinguished by its plump body, feathered legs, and mottled reddish-brown color”- sound familiar?

On the other hand, we would not have our Fat Bird if not for our owner, Maggie Hardy Magerko, and her father, resort founder, Joseph A Hardy III; their appreciation for fine art; and their joint sense of humor. See, Mr Hardy has long been a patron of the arts. In fact, his Art Collection, which is displayed resort-wide, is an eclectic representation of his tastes. Both Maggie and Mr Hardy also enjoy a good laugh, which is evidenced in many of the pieces in the family’s collection. Perhaps most humorous in the Hardy Family Art Collection, however, are the works by Fernando Botero.

Botero, a Columbian artist, is well known in the art world for his “inflated” images of people, food, and animals. His work often pokes fun at masterpieces frequently studied in art history- likely inspired by his studies in Europe. A prominent theme in Botero’s work is the image of a bird. One such bird entitled, “Little Bird,” was created in bronze in 1988.

At some point after its creation, Maggie (likely with her father at the time) saw Botero’s “Little Bird.” The irony of such a large and heavy sculpture being referred to as ‘little’ no doubt struck the Hardy’s as humorous. Imagine, there sits a 3,000+ lb., overweight to say the least, bird… and it is being referred to as “little?” … well, there is nothing little about it. And, with no known meaning: there is sits, irony intended for whimsy sake, solely for the viewers’ enjoyment. As the story goes, Maggie loved it and wanted it to be used at the resort somehow.

With Maggie now in charge of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the focus seemed to become an increasingly family friendly resort. Botero’s bird seemed to embody the whimsy of the new Nemacolin. A place that offers something for everyone, Nemacolin was becoming as rare a bird in the resort industry as Botero’s “little” bird was to the art world.

A bright businesswoman, Maggie knew that Botero’s work carried a copyright, which would make it nearly impossible to use “Little Bird’s” exact image for the resort’s new logo. But, living under the motto of her father, “nothing is impossible,” Maggie found a way. Therefore, as passed down from curator to curator, the story tells that Maggie took an image of “Little Bird” to wildlife artist, Barney Boller, and challenged him to create his interpretation of a “big, fat bird” thus resulting in our logo’s name: Fat Bird.

Boller created a Mother Bird and 100 smaller bronzes. Each of the bronzes were signed and numbered by the artists and were readily made available to our guests for purchase. Many guests have taken us up on the offer, from a lady in Kansas to President Bush, senior. As time when by, more and more Fat Birds hatched, in a number of mediums and sizes. Today you can buy fat birds in soap and chocolate; made of precious stones, valuable metals, and stuffing; and printed on just about everything from key chains to cookies!

So, on your next visit, tip your hat to Botero’s “Little Bird” as you turn into our main entrance, and smile as our Mother Fat Bird greats you at check-in in the Chateau Lafayette Lobby. And, next time you pass a new guest wondering, “What’s Fat Bird”, you can know with confidence and say, inspired by the words of our owner Maggie herself, “Fat Bird is Nemacolin’s mascot. He is fun and whimsical, just as are the expectations of Nemacolin’s guests.”

Brenda Girod
Art Collection Specialist
Hardy Family Art Collection


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