LANDLOCKED Switzerland, the home of yodeling, cheese and watches, is not known for aquatic life. That's why artists there started erecting painted fiberglass cows in public places a few years back.
They unleashed a worldwide craze. Chicago artists wanted to do cow sculptures, too. Cincinnati followed with pigs, Miami with flamingos, Boston with cod, Orlando with lizards. And so on, until 183 whimsical fish surfaced around Baltimore's downtown last spring.
Those zany fantasy figures quickly captured the imagination of Baltimoreans. Wallets, too. When the first of the sculptures were auctioned in November, a colorful fiberglass cone fish fetched $22,500.
That price is unlikely to be topped today, when the last of the fanciful fish will be sold on eBay. By the time bidding ends, some $400,000 will have been raised for three city youth programs. Totally cool.
Hats off to local artists, their sponsors and City Councilwoman Catherine E. Pugh, whose idea this was. They worked tirelessly to make "Fish Out of Water" such a success.
But their work is not over. Baltimoreans can hardly wait to see what comes next. Because something must.
With the showy fish gone, downtown looks outright boring.