The Cardinal Project
This project comes as an effort of Downtown Marion, Inc., led by Cardinal Project Committee Chair, Dean Jacob.
The Cardinal is Ohio’s state bird. With Ohio as the 17th state admitted to the Union, a total of 17 birds will be installed throughout downtown Marion. To date, 16 of 17 are in the permanent locations.
The idea of placing animal sculptures as a public art display in Marion first came to Jacob from seeing the Chicago “Cows on Parade” statues and from other similar public art projects around the country.
To get the project started, Jacob worked to secure 13 local artists who pitched in with ideas, supplies, and time to create the cardinal. A 5-foot-tall, reinforced fiberglass figure, the cardinal statues are painted in a variety of colors and themes; some feature local attractions and highlight Marion’s historic landmarks, while others are artistic interpretations. Each statue features a plaque detailing the sponsor, designer, and painter of the art installation while telling the story of each Cardinal’s design.
The final statue is displayed inside The Guild front window in downtown Marion until it can be mounted in the outdoor location at Founders Park. Park renovations are planned, and upon completion of the park upgrades, the statue will be installed.
This project was generously funded through private individual donations and organization sponsorships; with half the funding provided by a Marion Community Foundation grant. Artists’ time and talent were also donated to accomplish the project.