Auction marks grand ‘fin’ale of GP Fish

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 2, 2012

 The colorful “Mafisse” was created by Ms. Lynne of Colors in Clay. Most of the sculptures will be auctioned during an event Oct. 12 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

The colorful “Mafisse” was created by Ms. Lynne of Colors in Clay. Most of the sculptures will be auctioned during an event Oct. 12 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

File photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — This summer, there was something fishy going on in the Pointes.


The Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce organized GP Fish, a series of events that revolved around the creation and display of 51 large fish sculptures, which local artists decorated and sponsors placed around the community.


After having had the summer to enjoy seeing the fish, residents and business owners now have the chance to own one. Most of the sculptures will be auctioned during a gala Oct. 12 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. Funds raised from the auction will support two local nonprofits — Services for Older Citizens and the Grosse Pointe Chamber Foundation.


People will be able to bid on 30 finished and one unfinished fish, along with a multi-colored pearl necklace from Edmund T. Ahee Jewelers, a muskie fishing trip aboard the 38-foot Mary Megan II and an original oil painting by popular local artist Jane McFeely, said GP Fish Project Manager Pat Milne in an email interview.


Lori Stefek of Stefek’s Auctioneers will conduct the auction, she said. John F. Martin Photography is providing a photo booth during the event, Milne added. The James Russell Project will provide entertainment, and attendees can bid on desserts from local pastry chefs, Milne said. Devin and Corey Scillian, of Grosse Pointe Park, are the celebrity chairpersons for the event.


The sculptures made their debut in a preview event July 17 at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, an event that drew a crowd of more than 1,600.


Milne and SOC Executive Director Sharon Maier said the project created a strong sense of community.


“This event has gotten the whole community ‘hooked on Grosse Pointe,’ with the Pointe Perch being displayed from one end of our community to the other,” Milne said by email. “Families could be seen biking from one fish to the next and taking photos with their favorite fish.”


In an email interview, Maier said GP Fish gave local residents something to do together and “a way to explore our own backyards and look at Grosse Pointe up close and in a different light.” Families visited the fish together and created memories while becoming more familiar with local businesses, she said.


“The GP Fish event has showcased local talent and drawn media attention to the community that we love,” Milne said. “I believe the GP Fish event has benefited local businesses in the area by increasing pedestrian traffic and retail traffic. It has brought the community together while supporting two very worthwhile organizations. Many residents have shared with me the joy this community art project has brought to their children and grandchildren, also mentioning that they will dearly miss the Pointe Perch as the fish move on to their new homes after the auction.”


The artistry behind the fish was another attraction.


“Each fish was so unique and different,” Maier said. “It was delightful to see how a single white fish could turn into (more than 50) masterpieces. Such incredible talent was an inspiration.”


The GPCC’s foundation gives awards and scholarships to students, community leaders and new business owners, Milne said.


For SOC — which provides a variety of programs and services to seniors in the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods — this fundraiser comes at a pivotal time in the organization’s history, as SOC completes work on a building of its own at the Newberry House, a former nurses’ residence for neighboring Cottage Hospital, located at the corner of Ridge and Muir in Grosse Pointe Farms. Renovations and related costs for the three-story, roughly 10,000-square-foot building are expected to be around $3 million.


Maier said the windows went in last week, the elevator shaft is in and framework for the walls had been put up already. She said they remain on track to open in spring 2013.


“Our new building is fast becoming a home,” Maier said by email. “The demolition happened really quickly, and every day, you can see signs of new improvements.”


Funds from the auction should be “a big boost to us as we move forward,” Maier said.


“More importantly than the dollars and cents, we are overwhelmed by the support of the community,” she continued.


The GP Fish Auction Bash begins with a pre-auction preview, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the GPYC, followed by dinner and a live auction. The GPYC is located at 788 Lake Shore, at the foot of Vernier. Tickets are $125 per person, and reservations should be made by Friday, Oct. 5. Tickets won’t be available at the door. Checks should be made payable to Grosse Pointe Chamber Foundation. For tickets or more information, call the GPCC at (313) 881-4722 or visit