By Claire Byun
The rogue artists behind the mysterious Pokemon statue erected in Coliseum Square Park earlier this summer hope to use the monument as a force for good, and the neighborhood and its fountains stand to benefit from their efforts after the statue is auctioned off this weekend.
The statue was found the morning of July 31 in the dry Terpsichore Fountain in Coliseum Square Park, and drew the attention of locals, tourists and national media. The Coliseum Square Association is hosting the statue’s auction on Sunday to raise funds for Lower Garden District parks and fountains.
“We would like to use [the statue’s] positive momentum to bring about a larger, more permanent change for our community,” the anonymous artists said in a statement.
The statue, which was secretly erected overnight, features a “bronzed” Pikachu standing with arms crossed and nose pointed upward. The 5-foot-tall statue stands on a concrete pedestal with the Twitter hashtag #POKEMONUMENT inscribed at its base.
The mysterious statue was erected during this summer’s release of Pokemon GO, an phone app that uses augmented reality to populate the world with catchable creatures that players can pit against each other. Pikachu, the Pokemon depicted with infamous statue, is one of the best known characters from the game originating in 1990.
The artist, who still wishes to remain anonymous, donated the statue to the CSA to benefit Lower Garden District parks, said CSA president Julie Simpson. The artist contacted Simpson through CSA’s website and said they were “overwhelmed” with the positive response the guerilla-art statue evoked from locals, tourists and Internet commentators.
“I was just so grateful that the artist would just give us the monument,” Simpson said. “They’re not getting anything from this.”
All proceeds from the statue’s auction go toward the CSA’s endowment to improve and protect the Lower Garden District’s parks and fountains. CSA is working to raise $50,000 toward the endowment and, if met, has the potential to be matched by the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Neal Auction Company is hosting Sunday’s auction at its Carondelet Gallery, located at 3923 Carondelet St. Bettine Field Carroll, vice president of Neal Auction, said she’s never auctioned off something quite like the Pokumonument.
“I expect it to be a lot of locals, and maybe a lot of people who have never bid before,” she said.
Carroll said her goal is to raise as much money as possible for the endowment, though she’s unsure of how many people will attend the auction. The auction house previously sold a sketch by Banksy, a well-known street artist popular for his satirical and political graffiti, but a giant fiberglass and epoxy Pikachu is a first.
“There’s a lot of unknowns,” Carroll said.
The auction begins at 11 a.m. at the Carondelet Gallery on Sunday. Bidding starts at $1,000 and can be done in person, over the phone or through an absentee. For more information, contact Neal Auction at 899-5329 or www.nealauction.com.
The CSA is also hosting A Day in the Lower Garden District this weekend to raise funds for the endowment. The house tour showcases five different houses in the neighborhood with Felicity Church serving as a hub. Ticketholders can attend three seminars at the church throughout the day – including how to uncover historic tax credits and a brief history of the district – and all proceeds benefit the Parks and Fountains Fund.
The event is runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Felicity Church, 1220 St. Tickets range from $25 to $45.For more information, or to buy tickets, visit the event’s website.