While waiting in line to get beer in Wursthalle, attendees of New Braunfels’ annual 10-day salute to sausage might notice some peculiarly large steins peppered around the room.
These 4-foot-tall “monster mugs,” each uniquely painted, are the result of a public art campaign that took place 13 years ago — and the installation may make a comeback in celebration of New Braunfels 175th anniversary next year.
“Thirteen years ago, we needed to make money to match a grant … so we had to find other ways to make a fundraiser,” said Nancy Bower, president of the New Braunfels Art League Gallery. “We would go around (downtown) and talk to (businesses) — and we asked our artists to make some designs — and we’d go around and show the designs and then some would say they wanted it like that, or some wanted custom.”
For $595, a local business could rent a stein decorated with one of the pre-submitted designs, or for $1,500, a mug could be purchased with a custom design.
The campaign started in January of 2006, with the mugs going on display in front of businesses in May and concluding that October. After, the mugs were shown in a parade and put on show in a gallery where they sold for $500 each, many of them going to Wurstfest for a permanent home.
“We bought all we could because we thought they’d be the perfect decoration for around here, but you’ll see them around other businesses downtown too,” said Suzanne Herbelin, executive director of Wurstfest. “We’ve even tried to have more made, for decoration but the mold would only make so many.”
In total, 42 mugs were created, with 14 being bought outright when they were made.
Funds raised through the campaign were set to fund the Art League’s building maintenance and improvements, as well as community outreach programs with help from a $65,000 matching Kronkosky Foundation grant.
With designs ranging from portraits of the Good Morning America anchors to R2D2 from Star Wars, the proceeds from sale