Holt Journal staff writer
Designed by Sandra Diorka, Delhi Township’s director of public services, Gill was built to raise public awareness of recycling and Delhi’s wastewater treatment plant.
“I started out with a drawing of a bluegill that was going to be the department’s mascot,” said Diorka, “when we decided we were going to do a sculpture we just took the exact picture and made it proportionally bigger … a lot bigger.”
After Joe Keeley of the Department of Public Services welded the frame, the Holt Community Arts Council helped put the finishing touches on Gill.
According to a Holt Community Arts Council press release, over 1,200 visitors came to attach old laundry detergent bottles to Gill’s frame during an open house on May 10, 2008. Members of the community attached 2,500 laundry detergent bottle scales during the event.
Since then, Gill has become something of a celebrity. “When we first made him, we thought he was going to be a stationary structure that just stayed at the recycling center.” Said Diorka. Since attaching Gill to a trailer however, Gill has hardly stayed in one place.
According to Department of Public Services employee Eva Walacavage, Gill has been very busy, appearing in: the Holt Harvest of the Arts, the Holt Hometown Festival, Lansing’s Silver Bells in the City and the Mason Electric Light Parade.
Gill has even been featured in the MSU Homecoming Parade, cruising behind the men’s basketball team.
“People book him a year in advance now,” said Diorka.
Recently, Delhi Township attempted to enter Gill in Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize competition and museums have asked to put the giant sculpture on permanent display.
According to Diorka, Delhi Township has no plans to retire their mascot. The Smithsonian will have to wait.