November 24, 2014


Artistic project in Lorain is a whopper

LORAIN — Area residents may see more fish popping up around the county, but these won’t be water-bound.
The fish — kinetic sculptures mounted on metal poles — were displayed at Black River Landing on Friday during Lorain’s International Festival. Approximately 75 sculptures, designed by North Ridgeville artist Jim Gundlach and painted by other Lorain County artists and art students, will be displayed in various local communities as well.
Joan Perch, operations coordinator of Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Arts Center, announced her plans to expand Follow the Fish Art and Adventure Tour — a project that kicked off last summer. She described Follow the Fish as an outlet for local artists as well as a unique marketing opportunity for businesses.
As part of Follow the Fish Art and Adventure Tour, Lorain County businesses can purchase a fish, which will then be designed by a local artist and displayed near the business. The business will then be included in a trail map, leading residents and tourists to “follow the fish” to the location.
“The idea is to have local people think about going out of their comfort zones and then people beyond,” Perch said.
A number of businesses have already caught on to the project, including Charleston Coffee Shop and the Lorain Port Authority, which displayed some of the fish.
“We are working together to define this region as a place of art, recreation and fun — a destination for visitors far and near. Including local sculpture at our locations only enhances this,” said Ralph Bruening, Port Authority facilities manager.
Beth Bryan, art outreach coordinator for Follow the Fish, said there is a need for art, especially in Lorain. The group works out of a shop across from the Lorain Palace Theatre on Broadway, and every day, Bryan said, people are coming in to discuss the subject.
“I hate to say that artists think differently, but we do,” she said. “With a group of like-minded people, being able to talk to them, that’s what I need, and that’s what keeps me going.”
Follow the Fish has allowed artists like Steff O’Ryan, of Lorain, to make some money while doing what they love, said Perch.
“The primary goal is to create a real value for artists in the county, to understand the power of the arts and bridge gaps,” she said. “We’re creating a partnership between the business and artists.”
Lorain County Community College art students also got a chance to get involved.
Art students Jared Mitchell and Judy Wu created the largest fish displayed at the Black River Landing — a 16-foot-long giant perch, designed under the direction of art instructor Jean Weigl. The perch, sponsored by the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, displays a painting of a mermaid and a squid.
Wu called the project an “incredible opportunity and learning experience,” according to a news release from Follow the Fish.
Another giant perch, sponsored by the Nord Corporate Foundation and painted by Lorain High School art students, under the direction of Lorain High School art teacher Madeline Pozzi and Follow the Fish chairwoman Perch, can be viewed at Trolley Loop Park at the northwest corner of Lorain’s Bascule Bridge.
Perch, who said she enjoyed the creative aspect of Follow the Fish, said she plans to continue the project for at least two years.
Businesses or individuals can contact her if they would like to purchase a fish at (440) 935-3655.
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or

  • Grace Carlson

    The fish are all painted so beautifully and unique to each business or from the artist own interpretation. Thank you for our fish. I love it. Grace, Charleston Coffee House.

  • Renate Jakupca

    Another nice Article on Ohio Environmental Arts — The North East Ohio Area has been branded as the Home of the Environmental Art(s) Movement by the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) to
    foster civic identity, cultivate tourism, and brand Arts and Culture in the Region.
    BACKGROUND CHECK by Christa Herbert:

    – The Environmental Arts Movement was professionally organized by the The International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) founded by David and Renate Jakupca in 1987.
    – Environmental Art is the true indigenous art form of the greater Cleveland, Ohio area.
    – The ARK in Berea is the global home to the Environmental Art Movement.
    – David Jakupca is the recognized leader and the Spiritual Father of the Environmental Art Movement.
    – The ‘Theory of Iceality on Environmental Arts’ is now considered as the cornerstone of the modern sustainable global Environmental Art Movement and the concept is now replicated by urban designers, architects and artists throughout the World.
    – In 1993 in Vienna, Austria at the World Conference on Human Rights,
    ICEA, with the approval of U.S. Delegates, Jimmy Carter and Geraldine
    Ferraro, began recycling and promoting United Nations’ World
    Conferences until 2007.
    – Through this partnership with the United Nations, ICEA has influenced a global audience of literally billions of people.
    – Environmental Art was used by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of their 1997 American Canvas Project that is currently used in all 50 States.
    – In 2000, David and Renate
    Jakupca were appointed American Cultural Ambassadors representing the US
    at EXPO2000, The Worlds Fair held in Hanover, Germany.
    – Environmental Art is the number one Art Movement in Cleveland, Ohio
    – Environmental Art is the number one Art Movement in America.
    – Environmental Art is the number one Art Movement Worldwide.