Community flocks to penguin auction

After months of displaying their plumage on campus and around town, most of YSU’s 31 decorated penguins have flown the coop. The seven-foot tall sculptures from YSU’s Penguin Parade were placed on the auction block Friday night at Stambaugh Auditorium. Proceeds from the Penguin Parade Gala and Auction will benefit local arts and community organizations, including the McDonough Museum of Art, the SMARTS program, and the Community Foundation of Youngstown.More than $190,000 was raised by the auction of 29 of the fiberglass birds decorated by local artists. Raffle tickets were sold for the remaining penguin, which is believed to have raised about $8000 according to YSU spokesman Ron Cole. About 450 people attended the event. Spotlights shone down on the penguin sculptures, which were displayed in the upper and lower lobbies and ballroom of the auditorium. A jazz band played while attendees nibbled Hors d’Oeuvres, mingled with the artists and got a closer look at the decorated birds.Bidding began shortly after 7:30 p.m. under the direction of Paul Basinger of Bassinger Auction Service. Miss Ohio Amanda Beagle and WYSU-FM radio host David Luscher took turns describing the penguins. Bidding opened at $1,000 for each bird.The highest selling sculptures were “The Mill,” by Tom Antonishak and “A Penguin’s Dream,” by the Prodigal Media Design Team, each netting $16,000. Prices for the others ranged from $2,200 to $12,000. Even the missing penguin raised some funds for the project. Jon Fetter, the son-in-law of former YSU trustee Bill Knecht, donated $2,000 for “Mosaic in Metal.” The penguin was stolen when it was on display on YSU campus during the summer. Three of the winning bidders donated their penguins to the university. “Universal Penguin has Stars in its Eyes” will be displayed in the lobby of the YSU planetarium. It was the gift of Warren Young, professor of physics and astronomy.Anthony Lariccia purchased “Executive State” for display in the Lariccia International Student Lounge at Kilcawley Center. The Andrews Fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley donated “Foreshadows Past” to YSU. It will be displayed in an unspecified location on campus, Cole said.Most of the artists responsible for the Penguin Parade were at the event to watch their sculptures change hands. Lynn Cardwell and Marcia Roepke-Applegate, designers of “Reflections of Youngstown Pride,” talked about the penguin project. “It was really great for the community,” Roepke-Applegate said, “It brought a lot of people together.” She and Cardwell are considering publishing a book based on their photo album of the penguin’s construction. They call the album their baby book, and privately named their penguin “Stella.” Proceeds of the book would also go to charity. Cole said the project was a tremendous success. “It created a sense of unity and community spirit across the entire area,” he said.

1 comments anon Sun Aug 11 2013 19:09 Anyone doing an update on locations? Would be kind of nice to see some of these penguins if they happen to be in public places. Next year marks the ten year anniversary…

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