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Downtown Lodi’s lifelike statue exhibit bids farewell

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Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:38 am, Wed Jul 13, 2011.

Aly Pennino and her brother, Tony, stared quizzically at the Seward Johnson statue that has become known as “Bob the Window Washer” on the corner of Walnut Street and School Street on Tuesday.

Tony, a slight, blond-haired boy, and his younger sister sauntered around the statue, never really taking their eyes off of the life-like face of the statuesque man who had been cleaning the same window of Texture Salon since he was placed there three months ago.

Tony eventually smiled at the statue before he walked away, but Aly was never quite convinced that Bob was not going to suddenly come to life and look right back at her.

But starting today, the Pennino siblings — and the rest of Lodi — will no longer be able to interact with the statues.

The Seward Johnson sculptures will begin to be removed starting at 7 a.m. this morning. Once all 10 are safely packed away, they will be transported back to their home in a New Jersey studio, according to Deanie Bridewell, Community Center Manager for Hutchins Street Square.

Their destination after that is unknown, Bridewell said, but during their stay in Lodi she had heard nothing but positive feedback about the statues, and said she felt the sculptures provided a unique art experience for the community.

The statues, which were unveiled April 15 in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce’s Spring Wine Stroll, were funded by a development fee from Lodi’s Art in Public Places program. The cost of exhibiting the statues in Lodi over the past three months totaled $22,500, Bridewell said.

“I’ve stood listening to a mother describe the process of how they were made to her small children, I saw a mother of a visually impaired child help him to feel the guitar of a sculpture ... ” she said, referencing the troubadour statue who sits and silently strums away on his guitar across the road from Rosewood Bar & Grill.

Other Lodi city officials say they have observed similar instances in which passers-by were either snapping photos of the statues or taking pictures with the statues.

Mayor Bob Johnson said he liked to walk down School Street during the weekly Farmers Market or at the Street Faire and ask those he caught looking at the statues what they thought of them. Be it Lodi residents or out-of-towners, Johnson said many of the reactions were the same — “God, these things are fantastic.”

The statues have been good for business along School Street, too. Business owners have seen an increase in foot traffic since the statues took up residence in April.

Lonnie Saechao, who works at Lodi Cooks on the corner of Pine and School streets, said a customer came into the store one day to regale him with a tale about how she tried to wave the statue of the jogging woman across Pine Street. After telling store staff her story, Saechao said, the woman stuck around to shop at the store.

Kathy Sauseda, owner of Texture Salon, says she has customers come in all the time and while they are getting their hair done, all they will do is watch “Bob the Window Washer” until they leave.

“People will come in and say we are paying (Bob) too much to clean our windows when he hasn’t even finished the job on that one side,” she said. “He has probably been hugged more, poked more and groped more than any other statue along (School Street).”

Contact Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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  • Josh Morgan posted at 11:11 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    I enjoyed the statues.......hate to see them go.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:47 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    It was fun watching the overimbibers carrying on a conversation with them.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:38 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    I also agree with Mr Kinderman in reference to the statues appearance. It was pleasant and different. A number of times, I would get to work here downtown around 5:00 AM and see a shadowy figure standing next to the theater. I would think to myself... what is that person doing there... then I would remember it was the statue. I also have enjoyed watching people study the statues just like one would do with an interesting painting in an art gallery.
    Ill have good memories.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:31 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Ms Bobin stated...Oh, I think Mr. Kinderman is way too straight-laced for that, Mr. Chaney...

    Ms Bobin... I have not thought of Mr Kinderman as straight-laced.. I just think of him as ethical and principled... depending on what one perceives it to be, maybe you are right!

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:54 pm on Wed, Jul 13, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4301

    Oh, I think Mr. Kinderman is way too straight-laced for that, Mr. Chaney. It actually states that in the last sentence of the article.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 12:54 pm on Wed, Jul 13, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Jerome, only you would conjure up a demented idea of groping a statue? Prattle on, brother.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:04 am on Wed, Jul 13, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2254

    Oh no! Statues being "groped" right here in our own version of "River City?" That spells trouble with a capital “T!” Well, thankfully they're on their way out because I'm sure that window washer was just asking for it!

    In all seriousness, I'm actually going to miss "them" as each time I've either walked the streets or driven through the downtown area, there was an air of "uniqueness" in Lodi - a description often attributed to this, but until their arrival I never really sensed it.

    Perhaps if we paid “Bob” a little more he’d reconsider being moved back to Joisey?



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