“I cannot imagine Marquette without Phil, and I cannot imagine Phil without Marquette” That sentiment by local high school teacher and journalist, Eric Hammerstrom in his recent article featuring Phil Niemisto is repeated by many in our City. Eighty-seven year old Phil is a beloved fixture in Marquette’s downtown. On any given day, no matter the weather, Phil can be seen throughout Marquette’s downtown working to keep shop windows sparkling clean or planting and tending his flowers in the Washington Street Pocket Park. The park was recently named by the City Commission as ‘Phil Niemisto Pocket Park’ to honor Phil’s decades of volunteer efforts in our City. Adding an artistic rendition of Phil in the Park would be a lasting tribute to an individual who embodies all the attributes that are special about our community. Although Phil figures that “they make statues of dead people” and he makes it clear that he has plenty of life left in him, local sculptor Earl Senchuk recently convinced Phil to allow him to complete a miniature rendition of Phil for a local art show. This campaign would provide the funds to enable Senchuk to build a life-size statue of Phil to install in the Pocket Park. The statue will be installed on a bench in “Phil’s Park” giving the impression that Phil is telling a story to a person standing on the sidewalk in front of the bench. The statue will honor a dedicated downtown ambassador and tireless volunteer while also providing the community an accessible piece of public art that can be appreciated and experienced by all.
To donate to this wonderful cause, visit the established GoFundMe page below.