One of the penguins will be donated to the children's museum.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Warren Young came to Stambaugh Auditorium on Friday evening looking to buy a work of art for the Youngstown State University planetarium.
Before the night was over, he had paid $4,000 for a penguin.
"Delighted, we're just delighted," said Young, a professor of astronomy and physics at YSU and retired planetarium director.
The penguin purchased by Young is called "Universal Penguin Has Stars in its Eyes" and it's one of 31 fiberglass penguin sculptures in the "Penguin Parade" community art project. The sculptures were sold in a charity auction Friday at Stambaugh.
Local artists designed the sculptures. Young said his penguin, designed by McDonald artist Diana Ludwig and covered with illustrations of stars, constellations, and other celestial bodies, will be placed in the lobby of the YSU planetarium in the next few weeks.
About 450 people attended the auction, which raised $190,950, not including ticket sales. Tickets to the auction were $50 each. The total raised was not immediately available.
"The Mill," designed by Tom Antonishak of Poland, and "A Penguin's Dream," designed by the Prodigal Media Design Team, each sold for $16,000 each, the highest bids at the auction. The Ward and Eleanor Beecher Foundations bought "The Mill," while Kathy Kennedy, of the Kennedy Family Foundation, purchased "A Penguin's Dream."
Proceeds will be donated to the McDonough Museum of Art and YSU's Students Motivated by the Arts program, as well as the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and its endowment funds for Beatitude House, Community Living, Goodwill Industries, Junior League of Youngstown, Leadership Mahoning Valley, Potential Development, and Youngstown Hearing and Speech.
Catherine Cala, co-chair of the Penguin Parade project and associate director of university development for YSU, said she felt the project had helped foster community pride. The penguins have been on display throughout the Mahoning Valley for the past few months.
The auction of each penguin began with Miss Ohio 2004, Amanda Beagle of Howland, describing the sculpture to be sold. Auctioneer J. Paul Basinger then opened the bidding for each penguin at $1,000.
Larry Richards, president of the YSU Alumni society, made the first purchase at the auction. He bought "All Buttoned Up," a penguin designed by Anita Kay Wesler, a Mill Creek MetroParks horticulture educator, for $4,500.
The bidding lasted less than a minute.
Richards said the alumni society had collected a total of $10,000 from its members to buy the penguin, which will be placed outside of the YSU alumni house.
"It's a symbol of the university," Richards said. The alumni society also had paid to sponsor the creation of the penguin.
Paul Williams and Dr. Bill Bunn purchased the next penguin for sale, "Infinite Possibilities" by Robert W. Walker, for $2,200 on behalf of the Andrews Fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. They received a rousing round of applause from the crowd when they announced the penguin would be donated to the Children's Museum of the Valley.
The penguin had been on display at the museum.
"They loved it there ... they hated to lose it," Bunn said.
Others bought penguins to the auction and donated them to the Jewish Community Center, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Youngstown Symphony, St. Elizabeth Health Center and Mill Creek Park. YSU officials said a couple from California also attended the auction and bought a penguin.
Turner Seabrook, owner of Top Quality Auto Spa in Youngstown, said the penguin he purchased for $3,750, "The Emperor of Sports" by Martin Cohol, would be placed outside of his business. He said he bought the penguin to demonstrate that there is support in the community for projects like the Penguin Parade.
Others at the auction also noted that the event showed that the Mahoning Valley could come together in support of the arts.
"I think it's a tribute to our community," said Walter Good, a member of the Penguin Parade steering committee.
There originally were 31 penguins in the project, but one was stolen. Jon Fetter donated $2,000 at the auction to replace money that would have been raised by the sale of the stolen penguin.