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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who Bought the General Motors Penguin?

“Who bought the General Motors [GM] penguin when they had those painted penguins in Youngstown about 7 years ago?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff recalls the fiberglass Youngstown penguins which were painted by local artists.

Online searching was required for this question. We typed the words “Youngstown painted penguin sculptures” into a popular search engine. On the website of the Business Journal Daily we found that the GM penguin was named Cobalt. It was the first of the 31 completed penguins to be previewed and “was designed by Todd P. Fowler of Youngstown, a 2002 YSU graduate . . . he developed the design in honor of his father, Robert, who painted cars at GM for 35 years . . . Fowler used the same automobile paint that GM workers use to paint cars to craft his penguin, saying it was his goal to capture the luminosity, depth, finish and shine of a new car in his design.

Information in the article cited Youngstown State University’s [YSU] involvement in the program, so we expanded the search to include YSU.  YSU student newspaper, the Jambar, says that Cobalt was revealed on May 13, 2004. has photographs of each of the sculptures. The YSU pages about the penguin parade say the auction was to be held on October 29, 2004.

The list of purchaser was located on the 2005 Annual Report of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. Cobalt was bought by Dick & Marlene Hill.

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