oooh, i’m in the paper. in a good way. the pictures from the article vanished, so i put my own snaps in.
Lifestyle 11:57 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, 2011
By Melissa Ruggieri
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
They weigh 45 pounds naked.
Georgia Aquarium Homer the Home Depot dolphin was designed by local artist Jeanne Morrison as part of the Georgia Aquarium Dolphins on Parade.
Ten of them are hanging around the Pemberton Place courtyard, outside of Georgia Aquarium, while another six, the more fragile ones, greet visitors inside the aquatic venue.
Still more – 47 in all – are scattered throughout the city, in Midtown and downtown, Buckhead and Grant Park.
Some sport mirrored tiles and painted lipstick. Others, a workman’s apron or zebra stripes. And then there’s the one with a swoop of ginger hair, sitting behind a desk like his real-life counterpart on a late-night TBS talk show. He’ll chill at the aquarium until it’s time to possibly take a trip to the West Coast to visit his human doppelganger named Conan.
What are these funky fiberglass figures?
They’re the Dolphins on Parade, a public art project commissioned by Georgia Aquarium as a tie-in to its Dolphin Tales show and exhibit, which opened this spring.
The program percolated in May 2010 with a call-out to local artists interested in participating. Of the 70 who submitted designs, 50 were chosen and matched with sponsors who purchased the dolphins. The artists received a stipend for their work.
Companies that want to own their dolphin paid $6,500, while those spotlighting them only through fall, when the program ends, paid $3,500. Those dolphin statues will be auctioned off at the aquarium’s annual Aqua Vino event in October, including an Atlanta Falcons fin-ster who is wearing a jersey and bears the signatures of every team player and coach, as well as owner Arthur Blank.
Proceeds benefit the aquarium’s sponsored admissions programs.
Kristie Cobb Hacke, vice president of sponsorship and development at Georgia Aquarium, said the idea for Dolphins on Parade originated with a board member when the aquarium first opened in 2005.
“At the time, we knew we couldn’t pull it off because of the construction, but we decided when the aquarium opened that the next big thing we did, we wanted to tie in with something to engage the community. Dolphins are the thing that people ask for again and again, so what a perfect fit,” she said.
One of the participating artists, Jeanne Morrison, worked on three dolphins: Homer, stationed at Home Depot on Ponce De Leon; another located at the Courtyard Marriott downtown; and one for McKenney’s Mechanical Contractors, the company that provided HVAC and Life Support System controls at the aquarium.
Of the trio, the Marriott statuette proved the most challenging to decorate because the hotel, which is housed in the Carnegie Building, also wanted the fiberglass fish to represent the Carnegie Library.
“Tracing the old library onto his head was so difficult. I even tried using calculus on it,” Morrison said.
Though the primary purpose of Dolphins on Parade is for it to exist as public art, the aquarium is also injecting some social media-based fun into the project.
A section on the aquarium website (www.georgiaaquarium.org/dolphin-tales/) encourages people to participate in FourSquare, Twitter and Facebook by “checking in” at a Dolphin on Parade point, posting photos and tags on Facebook and tweeting to the aquarium’s Twitter handle with the hashtag #dolphinsonparade.
Every week, one winner will be selected for an aquarium prize pack.
Also, dolphin scavenger hunters can check Facebook and Twitter for clues on the whereabouts of four dolphins not plotted on the website map. Find one, take a photo, submit via one of the aforementioned social media methods and also possibly win an aquarium prize.
“Because Atlanta played such a big role in creating the aquarium, we wanted to do something where people can be involved,” Hacke said. “Public art inspires people in a different way than just coming into the aquarium.”