Project Progress

PROJECT PROGRESS: To date, I have collected three gallons of pennies! Will tally them soon. Check here for Project Progress throughout the year.

Monday, January 31, 2011

What should we make?????

So… we’ve got pennies! Lots and lots more pennies still to come, I hope! Now what? What kind of art should we make? I’ll start out with a few ideas I’ve had, and you can post yours as a comment below. This page will be accessible from the left side of the blog homepage all year long (under the heading "Group Discussions - Add Your Input!"), so keep those ideas coming! And feel free to comment on my ideas and the ideas of others.

1.     A Penny Fountain – A pool of pennies with streams of pennies coming up out of it and falling back into it. Representing, perhaps, a love of art (symbolized by the pennies which represent compliments) flowing up and out of the artwork and then back into itself as it enlarges the piece itself. Other interpretations abound: any ideas? Plus, the pool can continue to grow and become an on-going and forever changing work in progress!

2.     Along those same lines, we can add a figure to the pool… an artist drowning in a sea of compliments? Or perhaps an artist simply bathing in the compliments?  Again, many interpretations possible, as there should be!

3.     A shrine made from pennies – A shrine to compliments? A shrine to money (pennies are, after all, money)? A shrine to art? A shrine to Community? A shrine to creativity?

Some other thoughts phrases to get you thinking: Pennies From Heaven, A Penny For Your Thoughts, Penny Wise and Pound Foolish, A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned, In For A Penny, In For A Pound,  My Two-Cents Worth, Penny Lane, Penny Stocks, Penny Pincher, Worth Every Penny, Lucky Penny...

These are YOUR pennies. How would you like to see them incorporated into art? What would you like them to say?

Once we have a piece in mind, we can start discussing what it should look like and how it should be constructed. Do we shine the pennies, or some of them? Glue them? Solder them? Seal them? Spell something with them? Jingle them (to add sound to our piece)? Do we incorporate the silver change and dollar bills I've received or convert them all to pennies?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


  1. Here's another idea: A giant (or not so giant, depending on how many pennies we get) sunflower (or maybe just a sun) made completely of pennies. Sunflower (or sun) because this is the Valley Of The Sun... flower representing the blossoming of the arts district and art community. Sun representing the light and warmth that art brings to the community (and to the soul).

  2. How about creating a pathway (Penny Lane?) along which various public comments regarding Community hopes and dreams can be displayed? Best of luck with this!

  3. I like these ideas... keep them coming! Re Penny Lane: we can embed both the pennies and the comments in a sidewalk or street if the city will give us permission. We can do some text-art stuff with the comments, or even use the pennies to spell them out. We could also have places where people can add pennies and comments and expand the Lane each year with the additions. This would make it an ongoing and continuously evolving piece that really represents the city's growth and aspirations. Cool!

  4. How about a sculpture (made from pennies, of course) of an artist working at an easel?

  5. As a "starving artist" myself, I know the frustration of hearing "I love your work" or "That's Awesome!!!" or "You are so talented" at every turn and yet not selling enough to cover expenses and supplies and studio rent, etc. It's disheartening! Since each penny you collect represents a compliment (and you can't live on compliments), I think you should use the pennies to spell out "TAKE YOUR COMPLIMENTS AND SHOVE THEM UP YOUR ASS!"

  6. I like the idea of spelling something out with the pennies. I do not, however, want to seem ungrateful for the compliments. Though they don't feed me, they do sustain me in other ways. What would you think about using the pennies to write out some quotes about art and the creative process? I've been collecting quotes for years and have some favorites that inspire me on a daily basis. And if we should agree on using the pennies this way, those interested in participating in this project could submit their own favorite quotes. "Penny Lane" could then become a quiet spot of inspiration/meditation in the midst of the bustling downtown arts district. The quotes could become a street, sidewalk, or wall in a special area for that purpose... perhaps in a park or garden... just another thought.

  7. Randy, I've seen your work and especially like "New Life," the digital piece of the pregnant woman that was featured in the Phoenix Magazine article. What if we did a version of that in pennies instead of blue dots? We could use shinier pennies for the light spot, and maybe even paint some for the fingernails and other details. This would symbolize all the compliments "giving birth" to a piece of art.

  8. So I'm thinking about combining all of the above ideas... like maybe a shrine where each side represents a different interpretation (shrine to money , shrine to compliments, shrine to art, shrine to community). This would encompass all ranges of emotions, from "Thanks so much for your compliments" to "Take you compliments and shove 'em, and all aspects of the project from the collecting of pennies to the creation of art from the pennies. In front of the shrine would be a pool/fountain with an "artist" drowning/bathing in the pool. Leading up to it would be a path with some sort of text embedded in it (messages from the community or qupotes about art and the creative process, or both). Along the path would be a Sunflower and perhaps an artist at an easel. Have I left anything out? What do you think?

  9. Randy, Am sending you a Japaneses coin or two, trying to find my finnish coins wherever they are. I thought you might entertain the thought of doing a tribute to Japan and collect coins from all over the world. I think you might be able to apply for a grant as a non-profit institution. Once there's a headcount, the Japanese may releasethe info to you, listing names of victims already known to be dead. lastnight I watched the national geographic special which was quite vivid and despite my sleep meds have been up since 4 am. The pennies could create a border around the names -plaques - of those deceased with room to spare. I am sure that a beaytiful border could be created. Just a thought. Love, Helen

  10. Roll the pennies and build a log cabin from the rolls.

  11. I would pit them on the ground with slate of a copper color leading to a confessional booth which would. Be closed off by a curtain with iconic images inside the booth and a seat/bench where one or two could sit. Since I am not Catholic, I have never been in a confession booth, but for those who enter, a jar could be placed inside where proceeds would benefit that church. Curiosity in itself would draw people in and do whatever they wanted to do, a confession, a kiss, away of absolution, etc. As there would be no priest on the other side, fortune cookies could be in a basket with a plea for leaving a contribution for churches/synagogues in your area.
    Doesn't everyone want to know what's behind the hidden curtain. Your theme could be pennies from heaven to help the homeless or something. Just a thought.


Your comments and feedback are appreciated.