Donkey for Sale

Donkey for Sale


Two of the individual “Party Animals” to be sold at a live auction in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24 were created by Fairfax County artists.

The two, one donkey and one elephant, are as diverse as the political spectrum that spawned them.

Party Animal No. 152, a donkey that was displayed at the Holiday Inn Capital in Washington, D.C., was painted by Catherine Hillis of Fairfax Station.

Her subtitle is “Washington Women are Beautiful — Sophisticated Too.”

The donkey is clad in a cobalt blue-sequined halter-top evening gown that reveals her cleavage.

She wears a pearl choker, large dangly pearl earrings, a gold bracelet, black fishnet hosiery and oversized rhinestone-studded cat-eye glasses. Although the frames are large, they don’t conceal the black, curly eyelashes under her dowager-droopy lids.

Her lips are liberally outlined with very bright red lipstick.

“She’s just supposed to be fun and whimsical and make us laugh at ourselves,” said her creator, artist Catherine Hillis of Fairfax Station.

“I am usually a two-dimensional painter,” she said Sunday as she touched up the donkey with help from her daughter, Ellie, 13, a student at St. Stephens and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, and her husband, John.

Hollis said she fashioned the donkey’s eyelashes from polypropylene water bottles.

To go on display at the Holiday Inn Capital, she said, the statue “had to all be weather resistant and tourist resistant.”

“LILYPHANT” IS A REFINED, HIGHLY CULTURED elephant whose hide displays lavender water lilies that were inspired by the French impressionist, Claude Monet.

She currently stands just outside the green Starbuck’s awnings at the Marriott-Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., just off Connecticut Avenue near the National Zoo in Northwest Washington.

Lilyphant is the first in a line of Party Animals that flank the circular driveway leading to the formal entrance of the distinguished old hotel.

The others line up colorfully on Woodley Street, looking like tourists along the railing in the gallery above the floor of the House or Senate on Capitol Hill, which may have inspired some of them.

Lily is the project of lawyer-lobbyist Cindi Berry of Great Falls.

Lily was displayed at Connecticut Avenue and Q Street, near the Dupont Circle Metro, Berry said.

Although Lilyphant was vandalized slightly, she was touched up and got a new coat of varnish last Sunday.

Lilyphant is among 43 Party Animals that will be sold at live auction.

WASHINGTON’S PARTY ANIMALS are patterned after the cows that were displayed in Chicago several years ago, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities gave $1,000 grants, plus a $200 allowance for art supplies, to each of 200 artists who submitted designs for decorating 100 donkeys and 100 elephants, each one about five feet tall.

They will be auctioned at the "Raucus Caucus,” live and silent auctions to be held Oct. 24, from 6 - 10 p.m., at the Wardman Park Marriott, 2660 Woodley Road NW, at the corner of Connecticut Avenue. Tickets are $100 each.

Both Lilyphant and the “Washington Woman” were among 42 of the Party Animals selected for the live auction. Sixteen smaller statuettes will also be auctioned.

Preliminary bids can be made online at

Proceeds from the sale of the animals will go to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities grant programs for the arts and arts education.

Project manager is Alex MacMaster, 202-724-5613.