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"Blossom The Painting Pig" An APR 40th anniversary encore presentation

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Alabama Public Radio is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. All through 2022, the APR news team will present encore broadcasts of the best of the best of our stories. Our latest is from 2016. Former APR student intern Parker Branton is currently working as a reporter for the ABC television station in Miami. During his time in the APR newsroom, he produced a story that’s considered legendary. We dug into the APR archives to bring you this encore presentation of Parker’s story on Blossom, the painting pig.

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Parker Branton
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Festival goers look over the masterpieces painted by what more than a few of her fans refer to as a modern day “pigcasso.” Scott and Jackie McQueen are the owners of this talented swine. After years of begging for a pig, Jackie got more than she bargained for.

“Our little pig’s name is Blossom.”

Blossom is not your average, everyday pig.

“The way she started painting is that I had a dream about it one night that she did that.”

The Druid City Arts Festival is one of many festivals where Blossom is a regular. This miniature pig makes her rounds at jubilees statewide “hamming” it up for large crowds and leaving art fans amazed.

“They look over at the paintings and they don’t associate that with her, and then I have to tell them, you know, those are her paintings. She did that… and they’re like 'What?!' They can’t believe she really painted them.”

Jackie’s husband Scott bought into the idea of having their pet pig take up painting. He says there really wasn’t anything this pig couldn’t do, so the idea of it painting did not come as a surprise to him.

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Parker Branton
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“She had already taught the pig parlor tricks, it was going in circles and walking around the room and trying to stand up and trying to sit down and pecking on a piano and all the natural progressions. It seemed like the next logical thing to do was for the pig to paint, and it did, and it didn’t surprise me.”

And charities profit when Blossom brings home the bacon. The McQueens donate a portion of what their painting pig earns to a nonprofit in Birmingham.

“One of our friends mentioned Hand in Paw as a good charity that she might be involved in, and it’s a animal assisted therapy organization."

Hand in Paw is headquartered in Birmingham and they train animals to assist people in different kinds of therapy.

“They go to retirement centers or nursing homes, they even go into schools. They can help a child that is very shy… animals can do things for people.”

Jackie went through tough times just before getting Blossom.  They needed a fresh start in their lives and their art-making pig.

“We have four dogs, seven chickens, and now a miniature pig… they have all seemed to gel really easily. The dogs treat Blossom like another dog… I don’t even know if they know she is a pig…she’s just one of them” 

You can find Blossom’s artwork displayed in the windows of the Makers Market in downtown Tuscaloosa. Jackie and Blossom will continue their tour of the state through the fall and into the next year.

Former APR student Parker Branton is currently a news reporter for the ABC TV station in Miami. He headed to south Florida after working in Birmingham and an NBC bureau chief in Georgia.
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