02/07/05 — Head-turning fish fills Arts Center fountain

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Head-turning fish fills Arts Center fountain

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on February 7, 2005 1:55 PM

"Fish-ing season" begins today, and if you need any proof, check out the fountain in front of the Arts Center on Ash Street.

A massive, multicolored catfish surfaced in the pool Sunday, just in time for tonight's opening reception for Wayne County Reads.

The public art was created by a bevy of Wayne County Public Schools art teachers to commemorate this year's selection for the countywide reading project, "Big Fish," a novel by Daniel Wallace of Chapel Hill.

The idea for the sculpture came in a dream, said Wayne Community College instructor Liz Meador, a member of the Wayne County Reads organizing committee.

She woke with an idea of creating a large fish that would hang from one of the city's water towers, she said.

After that was found to be impractical, the committee considered making several fish that would be moved around Wayne County before deciding on one large fish in front of the Arts Council, due to its building's high visibility.

The catfish, made of canvas over a wood and wire frame, was built over two weeks. It was painted Sunday.

The Arts Council was refilling its fountain this morning, so that everything would be set for its reception, which begins at 7 tonight. The program will feature Rodney Kemp, a self-described "fish-house liar," who will tell tales of coastal life. News-Argus Editor Emeritus Gene Price will emcee. Coffee and refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

The catfish crew included Mrs. Meador and her husband, Dave; and art teachers Mary Ann Barwick and Beth Hill of Southern Wayne High School, Karen Helms of Mount Olive Middle School, Joann Smith of Rosewood High School, Betty Jo Godbey and Martha Kornegay of Charles B. Aycock High School, Bernadette Hamilton of Dillard Middle School, and Donna Moerie of Edgewood Community Developmental School.