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Temporary Public Art Pilot Project At Work On the Ground in the Hilltop | Penguin Edition!

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James Simon. Photo by Brian Conway.

James Simon. Photo by Brian Conway.

Simon has a history of using public art to help transform neighborhoods. His Art On Gist Street Project has earned praise for enlivening the area around his Uptown studio. “I noticed when I put [my first sculpture, “Baby Kong”] out there, how much the neighborhood really liked it. Living in the neighborhood, I could see firsthand that it was something the community really appreciated.”

“We’re combating against hopelessness,” says Bey. “It’s not just physical blight but there’s also a blighted mentality because of the conditions that have persisted for so long. I think the art in tandem with the other beautification efforts that are happening around these neighborhoods: the investment, new storefronts, the programs for teenagers, the efforts of the police against drugs and violenceyou can see change, and this program reinforces the visual aspect of that change.”

The penguins stand about two feet tall and come in all shapes and sizes: there’s an artist penguin with a beret, a dapper bow tie wearing penguin, a penguin dancing the flamenco, and dozens more to come.

Penguin installation is scheduled to begin in June throughout the three participating neighborhoods, the most prominent of which will be in the heart of E. Warrington Ave. business district.

“In my opinion, the artistic part of helping a community is extremely helpful because the environment of your community affects how you are and how you think every day,” says Simon. “Good quality public art can really bring up the quality of living.”

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