Last September, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission and FOCUS St. Louis joined forces to announce a unique temporary public art project to promote and support the arts in the St. Louis bi-state region. Over 400 area designs were submitted for The People Project. Today, 80 People Figures, created by local artists, students and citizens, were unveiled throughout the region.

Visitors to the St. Louis area will see Figures stationed on street corners, in shopping malls, and in front of several city halls and businesses. After the six-month public exhibition, the works of art will be auctioned at Phillips-Selkirk on October 20th. The People Figures will also be auctioned on the Internet in October and November.

“We have everything from a giraffe-headed man to a trio of acrobats to a flying griffin on display in this exhibition,” said Porter Arneill, director of The People Project. He noted that unlike similar projects in other cities, these Figures could be molded in any position. The flexibility allowed for some very imaginative ideas.

“It gives the City a unique and imaginative flavor that sets us apart from other areas,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, standing next to “Impossible Standman”, created by Syberg Studio and Gallery.

Mayor Francis Slay was intrigued by the artistic interpretation using life-sized wooden mannequins. “At first I was wondering who came up with this wild idea. But that’s what makes the project great. It is imaginative and creative and gives us something to talk about. It also gives artists an opportunity to display their talents in a way that is accessible to the public,” he said with a smile.

Mayor Slay commented that he’d like to see a Figure in or near City Hall, but preferred leaving the theme up to the artist and the Art Commission. “This is a great collaboration between businesses and not-for-profits in working together to create some kind of community uniqueness and community pride,” he noted. For more information on The People Project, call 314-531-5150

Visitors to Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis can enjoy the colorful “Blues Man”, one of 175 People Figures adopted by corporations, civic organizations and individuals. Additional figures were also unveiled in Clayton, St. Charles and O’Fallon, IL for the first phase of the People Project.

(L. to R. back row) Carolyn Losos, co-chair of The People Project, Dan Lowery with his People Figure called “Two plus Two Is Seven Up Mass Portrait”, O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham, Ned Drolette, Jill McGuire, executive director of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission; (front row) Porter Arneill, Director of The People Project and Christine Chadwick, executive director of Focus were on hand for the first unveiling at City Hall in O’Fallon, Illinois.

Bradley Drury stops to take a close digital video shot of the “Mystery Lady” sculpture by Cheryl A. Sander.