The community made individual tiles for this fish sculpture. <span class='image-credits'>Jeri Packer</span>

Fish of a thousand tiles represents Blue Water communities

A Fish Out of Water is a permanent addition to the grounds by the St. Clair harbor. Wally the Fish began as a challenge to create a public work of art that was representative of 'community.'
It's been three years since Wally the Fish was installed along the Pine River across from the St. Clair Boat Harbor. The sculpture began as a challenge to create a public work of art that represented the Blue Water community, says St. Clair Art Association vice president Jason Stier.

"After much brainstorming, we came up with the idea of creating a large fish sculpture and having as many people as possible create the 'scales' of the fish from tiles," said Stier. "We had citizens of all ages take part."

The proximity to the waterways of the Great Lakes and some of the best fishing spots around made Wally, a walleye, the perfect choice for representing the region.

Funding for this project came primarily from a private contribution. Called Fish Out of Water, the project began at the St. Clair Art Fair and continued with tile-making workshops for public and civic groups. Students in classrooms, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and community groups all made tiles. The tiles were created, dried, fired in a kiln, then glazed and fired again. Dennie Hill, a local concrete contractor, created the form of the fish, while the public art committee glazed, arranged, and assembled the tiles. An armature was built with rebar and cement and the tiles were attached to the body.

"At one point, members of other surrounding communities were considering creating fish sculptures of their own -- creating a 'school of fish' along our beautiful river," Stier says.

The art association continues to promote the mosaic fish project to other communities through the Blue Water Arts Council and Blue Water Convention & Tourist Bureau, so there is still hope for Wally to be part of a school of fish one day.

Signup for Email Alerts