BEST IN SHOW:
Jason Limberg for “A Midwinter Night” (Pen & Ink Drawing)
Bernard Park for “Early Spring” (Oil on Canvas)
Catherine Brunet for “Shabby Solitary Girl” (Mixed Media/Collage)
Joel Ostrowski for “Portraits” (Black & White Silver Photographic Print)
Michele Rosevear for “Reflections” (Watercolor)
THE DUANE A. DELOACH FIRST-TIME
Ann Russ for “Benedictus” (Ceramic)
Tribute to Phil Nemisto – “De Facto Mayor,” Volunteer Window Washer, Everyone’s Neighbor
Steel, Copper, & Brass Statue by Earl Senchuk
A few years ago, when presenting his Marquette Senior High School Students a College Board writing prompt, Eric Hammerstrom asked them what a community should consider when it created monuments for public display.
When Eric thought about local monuments such as:
- The statue of Father Marquette (who made a remarkable and positive impact on so many, including native Americans, in such a short life span);
- The bust of Peter White at the the Peter White Public Library (Read about Peter White);
- Mattson Harbor Park – named after the late philanthropist, School Board member, and banker, Elwood Mattson; and
- Shiras Park, Shiras Planetarium, and Shiras Hill, named after George Shiras (Read About George Shiras)
These are all named or are dedicated to important people, but he could not but think that Marquette was missing a monument to one of its greatest citizens: Phil Niemisto.
Eric could not imagine Marquette without Phil, nor Phil without Marquette.
Phil grew up in Holy Name Orphanage in South Marquette. Later, when Phil was asked why he settled in Marquette, he replied that Marquette is his family.
When Marquette was struggling through the “Age of Malls” and the most difficult economic days of America’s downtowns, Phil decided to make a difference by helping the business folk who showed him kindness. With a bucket and squeegee in hand, he walked the streets of our downtown and cleaned the shop windows that somehow stayed open. The store owners and shopkeepers of Marquette came to see Phil as their greatest advocate and some still refer to him as Marquette’s “de-facto mayor”.
Several years ago, Eric Hammerstrom asked Earl Senchuk what it would take to build a stature of Phil as a monument to an ordinary citizen who has had an extraordinary impact on our town. Earl set out to honor Phil/to show him how loved and respected he is, with his submission to this year’s LSAA Members Show with this 14-inch-tall sculpture. Someday, we hope to build a larger version to stand alongside the beautiful flowers in Phil Niemisto’s Pocket Park – in downtown Marquette.