MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- For 24 years, Merrill's Christy Rasmussen has taught art to elementary students.
"I avoided education at first because my dad had been my principal," Rasmussen said with a smile. "But I really wanted to be a teacher."
But in all her years of drawing, the Prairie River Middle School teacher has never had an art project this big.
"6-feet-6 inches, 115 pounds."
Chosen as one of 64 artists to paint the 85 fiberglass statues of Bucky to be displayed around Madison through the middle of September as part of "Bucky on Parade."
"Hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds of hours," Rasmussen said. "Oh it was a labor of love. I enjoyed every minute of it."
After applying in October, Rasmussen and her husband picked up the statue in January and worked on it for three months.
"Putting everything together into a collage is like putting together a complicated puzzle, everything kind of blends into the next item," she said.
And on the back, the map of the state out of Swiss cheese, with a special nod.
"You look at the little hole in the Swiss cheese where Merrill is located. The number 49 for Merrill's favorite Badger Sam Arneson."
The last design element, sealed, with a kiss.
"To represent that everybody loves Bucky."
Rasmussen's biggest takeaway from it all, is how art brings so many people together.
"Here we are up in northern Wisconsin and we're connecting our community with Madison through artwork," she said.
Rasmussen says she named hers, "Bucky on Guard," for two reasons. One, playing off basketball coach Greg Gard's charity, 'Garding Against Cancer,' a beneficiary of the project.
And two, because of Bucky's stance, he's guarding all the things that make up Madison.