Angela McQuillan's design for Feed the Fish. Provided
“The fun theory” holds that good habits can be formed when they are fun to do. One community organization working off that posit installed a piano staircase next to an escalator to promote walking; another built a speed trap that doubles as a lottery for those driving safely.
Members of the Fishtown Neighbors Association Beautification Committee went with fish.
Feed the Fish is designed to discourage littering in the neighborhood. More than 20 trashcans will be affixed with a fiberglass fish head with a gaping open mouth waiting to be fed garbage. The association had a call to artists to submit designs.
“I think that this project definitely puts the fun element into a cleanup effort,” says Angela McQuillan, participating artist, Fishtown resident and curator of the Ester Klein Gallery at the University Science Center. “Regular trash cans are pretty boring. It’s way more fun to throw your trash into a giant fish mouth.”
She decided to dial up the fun factor by giving life to her very own trash-gobbling fish. “One of the things I find most interesting about fish is their vibrant colorations and patterns. There are some crazy-looking fish species out there!" McQuillan says. "For this design I was thinking about creating my own species of fish: pupura maculatam pisces faecibus, more commonly known as the Purple Spotted Garbage Fish. This fish is specifically known for its ability to eat large quantities of trash.”
Right now the fiberglass heads are still in the manufacturing stage. “Our goal is to unveil them in the fall,” says Kristie Landry, chair of the Beautification Committee. “We also want to have a special meet the artist and sponsor ceremony,” she adds, to help bring the community together to make cleanup more fun.
Schools are getting into the act too, sponsoring trashcans (including emptying them and supplying bags) and paintingfish heads. “With this project we are really trying to address the issue and to start young,” Landry says. Several schools have chosen to sponsor a trashcan, meaning they are responsible for emptying the bin and providing new bags. “
“So far the school interest has been great," says Landry, "and aligning to campaigns they already have in the works around keeping things clean and green.”
Kristie Landry went futuristic for her fish head. Provided