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READING EXERCISE - Test Your Understanding, #5

[Broadcast: March 19, 2004]


More than one-thousand artists from around the country recently entered a competition in Washington, D.C. The winners will create artwork on one-hundred fifty plastic statues of pandas. As Gwenn Outen reports, the animal art will appear on city streets and in other places.


The invasion of the capital is called “PandaMania. ” The statues will be shown from May through September. Later, they will be sold to raise money for the arts. The statues will be at least one-point-three meters high. That is around the size of a real panda.

Washington artist Di Stovall (die STOW-vahl) designed a small panda to help give ideas to other artists. Mizz Stovall also worked on an earlier showing of painted animal statues in Washington.

The event in two-thousand-two was called “Party Animals.” It involved statues of donkeys and elephants. The donkey is the official animal of the Democratic Party. The elephant represents the Republican Party.

Mizz Stovall covered her statue with stars and stripes. Her “America the Beautiful” elephant brought the highest price. It sold for twenty-five-thousand dollars.

Anthony Gittens heads the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He notes that the city has a long history with pandas – real ones, that is.

In nineteen-seventy-two, China sent two pandas to the National Zoo in Washington. This followed the historic visit by President Richard Nixon to China. Those pandas lived until the nineteen-nineties.

Now, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang are on loan to the zoo for one-million dollars a year. People often wait a long time to see them. If the crowds get too large, visitors can look for the artistic pandas on the street.

Comprehension Questions:

1. What is the name of the new art exhibit in Washington?

2. What connection do pandas have to the city?

3. What animals were similarly displayed a few years ago?

4. Why were those animals chosen to be shown in the national capital?

5. What was the highest price paid for one of those animal statues?

Click here for the answers