Go Fish

Baltimore swims with the current and adopts a fishy mascot for city streets.

April 05, 2001|By Arthur Hirsch

Let's see now, one could put a halo above its head and call it an an- gelfish, or apply a big red nose and call it a clownfish or, say, a line of Highlandtown rowhouses for a fishrow - the mind fairly reels with possibilities. And if you think that's a regrettable pun, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Baltimore is about to follow in the wake of Cincinnati's pigs and Buffalo's buffalo and Orlando's lizards, all of which trailed Chicago's cows, a fund-raising sidewalk art project that put hundreds of Holsteins and other varieties on the streets. Although sheep might now seem more apropos as a civic emblem, Baltimore is going with fish, 6-footers in fiberglass, hundreds of which in a rainbowfish of colors will begin appearing on city streets this summer.

The fish was a compromise: Crabs seemed more Baltimore, but their spindly appendages also would have been more vulnerable to vandalism. The fish - 55-pound figures mounted on concrete bases - are nautical and durable.

FOR THE RECORD - The name of an artist involved in Baltimore's public fish sculpture project was misspelled in yesterday's Today section. Her name is Sandra Magsamen. The Sun regrets the error.

A glimpse of Baltimore's future fishscape is on exhibit today through Wednesday at City Hall. The display includes more than 200 drawings by local artists of fish designs, about half sponsored for completion, others awaiting sponsorship. For $3,750, you, too, can finance a fish, which will later be auctioned off to benefit local charities. Running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the first-floor gallery next to the City Hall rotunda, the exhibit also includes a sample fish, painted yellow with red lips, which might or might not make it a good day for banana- fish.

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