The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 30, 2013

Pittsburg's coal bucket display ends Sunday; auction to follow

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The giant coal buckets that have lined Broadway since June will be taken down from their display Sunday afternoon and prepared for auction Sunday night.

Organizers of the first public art exhibit, SEK Art Fest, are hopeful that they each sell for at least $500.

Regardless of how much they bring in, however, Steve Robb said their presence in Pittsburg has been invaluable. The 24 buckets, plus one that has been on display at Franklin Miners Hall Museum in nearby Franklin, Kan., have attracted thousands of onlookers, according to Robb, who conceptualized the idea based on similar events in metropolitan areas, including the Cow Parade in Kansas City.

“Merchants in downtown Pittsburg reported a definite increase in foot traffic throughout the summer,” he said.

Artists were selected from 60 who applied from throughout the Four-State Area, then transformed white fiberglass statues into unique pieces that celebrated the area’s heritage.

“The community really embraced the project and it exceeded our expectations,” Robb said.

The auction will be held at Parrott Bey, 408 N. Locust, where doors will open at 5:30 for a one-hour, up-close look at the buckets. Free food and drinks will be served, and the auction will follow at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the buckets being auctioned, each artist was invited to include two pieces of their work in the auction and earn the proceeds. The buckets will start at a minimum bid of $200 each. Those proceeds will go toward future community art events.

Next year

Steve Robb confirmed that the group is planning to do another such installation of large fiberglass statues next year. He declined to reveal what has been discussed as the theme, promising only that “it will be fantastic.”


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