Trump statue to benefit public art in the Heights
Regardless of your politics or your thoughts on the “Naked Trump” statue that briefly appeared in the Coventry Village Business District in Cleveland Heights on Aug. 18, you may appreciate that some good will come of it. On Sept. 16, artist Joshua Monroe, who goes by the name of Ginger, flew into Cleveland to pay an impound fee of $110 and retrieve his property from the Cleveland Heights Police Department. Representatives of Heights Arts and Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID) were on hand to help with the transaction as Ginger had agreed to offer the statue for auction to benefit the funding of public art in Coventry Village and throughout Cleveland Heights.
Ginger had created five life-size foam statues of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, pro-bono, for an anonymous artists collective called Indecline. The group placed them in prominent public spaces in four major U.S. cities on Aug. 18—New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles—and in Cleveland Heights.
Ginger, who grew up in Garfield Heights and now lives in Las Vegas, said that it was important to him that one of the statues be placed in Cleveland. “I choose Cleveland Heights because when I lived here it was always one of my favorite places to go,” he said. “It was kind of more of the heart-of-the-artist center of the city. It’s where I felt like something of this nature would be appreciated—and I thought it would definitely stand up a little bit longer, but unfortunately it got taken down pretty quick.”
The Cleveland Heights statue was placed in front of the Huntington Bank building at the corner of Euclid Heights Boulevard and Coventry Road on Aug. 18. It wasn’t there long enough for the glue to dry before Cleveland Heights police swooped in to remove it, citing an ordinance that property cannot be left unattended in a public place. The statue was taken to the city’s evidence storage unit. Ginger had 30 days to claim it.
The city decided not to press charges.
Community arts organization Heights Arts is holding the statue at an undisclosed location until it can arrange for a consignment sale or auction. Proceeds will benefit funding public art in the Coventry Village SID and will help establish initial funding at Heights Arts for future public art projects in Cleveland Heights.
Heights Arts has played a leadership role in commissioning and managing previous public art projects in Coventry Village, including the Coventry Arch by artist Barry Gunderson, the whimsical wrought iron fences by artist Brinsley Tyrrell, and the colorful street benches and Coventry-specific street sign system, both designed by Raymond Bugelski.
"We are hopeful that the sale or auction of this statue will allow us to bring more public art to the community in the future,” said Rachel Bernstein, director of Heights Arts. “This is the result of a wonderful collaboration typical of Cleveland Heights in which many people worked together to make it happen. The result will benefit the entire community, which is as it should be."
"We're beyond delighted that artist Joshua 'Ginger' Monroe has generously agreed to donate a significant portion of the sale of the statue to kick-start public art funds for both the Coventry Village Special Improvement District and Heights Arts,” said Angela Hetrick, director of Coventry Village SID. “It's truly wonderful that this work, which mysteriously appeared in Coventry Village and become national news, will benefit new permanent public art in our community. At this time, we're exploring options to facilitate the auction and working with our collective boards to discuss specifics, which we expect to announce very soon."
“I love Coventry, I love Cleveland Heights. It’s one of my favorite areas. Every time I come to Cleveland, I always visit here,” said Ginger.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.