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studio > galleries painting > Universal story

Universal Penguin Has Stars in It's Eyes

Universal Penguin photo album

 view Universal Penguin photo album


media used:
acrylic, Liquitex: medium viscosity matte permanent varnish
Binney & Smith, Inc.

Liquitex: acrylic artist color paint - Prussian blue
Binney & Smith, Inc.

Artist Acrylic Colors: acrylic black paint
Cal-Western Paints, Inc.

Painters: ultra fine opaque paintmarker - white
Hunt Corporation

Wellbond: glue and sealer
Frank T. Ross & Sons, Inc.
Hirschberg Schultz & Co., Inc. (12)10 mm acrylic cabochons

list of celestial objects depicted on the penguin

the Path of the Penguin Through the Starry Night

story on YSU website

 "The title of my penguin refers to four concepts and levels at once: The Universal Soldier is the title of an old folk song written by Buffy Saint-Marie in the early sixties about the Inevitability of War, referring to our present Middle Eastern travails. The Universal theme also refers to the starry universe that pervades our household: the material taught by my partner who works in YSU Physics and Astronomy Department. I am also referring to the fact that however hackneyed it may seem, or as critics may decry it, simply by living in Youngstown, it is the Center of the Universe from our perspective. From where we stand the world is revolving around us and at the same time we all need to have the vision that there is an entire awesome universe falling away from us, waiting to be explored and marveled upon. Which brings us to the last concept: our university is full of youthful-minded students all hoping …to improve their lives or the lives of those around them. They have stars in their eyes!" Diana Ludwig

  Celestial objects are painted in acrylics on the dark surface of the penguin, which was first given a coat of blackish Prussian blue. Near stars & bright stars, nebulae and open clusters, globular clusters, other galaxies, clusters of galaxies and even the best known quasar are labeled with their names and locations. The placement of these stars and deep-sky objects approximates a chart of the entire sky with the coordinates determined by the perspective of a viewer standing in Youngstown, Ohio.

view 3-dimensional video     or view here  (284 KB)

Penguins get a new home

Published: Sat, Oct 30, 2004 at Vindy.com link, the online version of the Vindicator newspaper


YOUNGSTOWN — Warren Young came to Stambaugh Auditorium on Friday evening looking to buy a work of art for the Youngstown State University planetarium.

Before the night was over, he had paid $4,000 for a penguin.

"Delighted, we're just delighted," said Young, a professor of astronomy and physics at YSU and retired planetarium director.

The penguin purchased by Young is called "Universal Penguin Has Stars in its Eyes" and it's one of 31 fiberglass penguin sculptures in the "Penguin Parade" community art project. The sculptures were sold in a charity auction Friday at Stambaugh.

Local artists designed the sculptures. Young said his penguin, designed by McDonald artist Diana Ludwig and covered with illustrations of stars, constellations, and other celestial bodies, will be placed in the lobby of the YSU planetarium in the next few weeks.

About 450 people attended the auction, which raised $190,950, not including ticket sales. Tickets to the auction were $50 each. The total raised was not immediately available.

"The Mill," designed by Tom Antonishak of Poland, and "A Penguin's Dream," designed by the Prodigal Media Design Team, each sold for $16,000 each, the highest bids at the auction. The Ward and Eleanor Beecher Foundations bought "The Mill," while Kathy Kennedy, of the Kennedy Family Foundation, purchased "A Penguin's Dream."

Proceeds will be donated to the McDonough Museum of Art and YSU's Students Motivated by the Arts program, as well as the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and its endowment funds for Beatitude House, Community Living, Goodwill Industries, Junior League of Youngstown, Leadership Mahoning Valley, Potential Development, and Youngstown Hearing and Speech.

Community pride

Catherine Cala, co-chair of the Penguin Parade project and associate director of university development for YSU, said she felt the project had helped foster community pride. The penguins have been on display throughout the Mahoning Valley for the past few months.

The auction of each penguin began with Miss Ohio 2004, Amanda Beagle of Howland, describing the sculpture to be sold. Auctioneer J. Paul Basinger then opened the bidding for each penguin at $1,000.

Larry Richards, president of the YSU Alumni society, made the first purchase at the auction. He bought "All Buttoned Up," a penguin designed by Anita Kay Wesler, a Mill Creek MetroParks horticulture educator, for $4,500.

The bidding lasted less than a minute.

Richards said the alumni society had collected a total of $10,000 from its members to buy the penguin, which will be placed outside of the YSU alumni house.

"It's a symbol of the university," Richards said. The alumni society also had paid to sponsor the creation of the penguin.


Paul Williams and Dr. Bill Bunn purchased the next penguin for sale, "Infinite Possibilities" by Robert W. Walker, for $2,200 on behalf of the Andrews Fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. They received a rousing round of applause from the crowd when they announced the penguin would be donated to the Children's Museum of the Valley.

The penguin had been on display at the museum.

"They loved it there ... they hated to lose it," Bunn said.

Others bought penguins to the auction and donated them to the Jewish Community Center, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Youngstown Symphony, St. Elizabeth Health Center and Mill Creek Park. YSU officials said a couple from California also attended the auction and bought a penguin.

Turner Seabrook, owner of Top Quality Auto Spa in Youngstown, said the penguin he purchased for $3,750, "The Emperor of Sports" by Martin Cohol, would be placed outside of his business. He said he bought the penguin to demonstrate that there is support in the community for projects like the Penguin Parade.

Others at the auction also noted that the event showed that the Mahoning Valley could come together in support of the arts.

"I think it's a tribute to our community," said Walter Good, a member of the Penguin Parade steering committee.

There originally were 31 penguins in the project, but one was stolen. Jon Fetter donated $2,000 at the auction to replace money that would have been raised by the sale of the stolen penguin.

©  2004 Vindy.com. A service of The Vindicator.

online version of Youngstown University Alumni Magazine link to article

Penguin Parade Auction

Warren Young stood up and raised his bid ticket.
More than 450 people filled the ballroom of Stambaugh Auditorium for the gala auction of the Penguin Parade public arts project in October.
On the block was “Universal Penguin Has Stars in Its Eyes” designed by artist Diana Ludwig, a stately bird decorated with a sky chart, complete with shiny celestial objects, galaxies and stars.

Young, a member of YSU’s physics and astronomy faculty since 1962, planned to place the seven-foot-tall penguin in the lobby of the Ward Beecher Planetarium.
He wasn’t going to be outbid.
“I decided some time ago that we should buy it if we could,” said Young, who retires in June. “It’s ideal for us.”

Young took a collection from faculty and staff in the department before heading off to the auction and also received assistance from Frank and Jocelyne, ’74, Linsalata of Gates Mills, Ohio, and Bruce and Gretchen Birrell of Youngstown. This generous support enabled him to place the winning bid of $4,000.

Young was one of many heartwarming stories coming out of the auction, where 29 of the fiberglass penguins were sold to the highest bidder.

In all, the auction and the raffle of a 30th penguin raised nearly $200,000 to benefit YSU’s McDonough Museum of Art and SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) program, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and its endowment funds for Beatitude House, Community Living, Junior League of Youngstown, Leadership Mahoning Valley, Potential Development, Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries, and Youngstown Hearing and Speech.

The penguins, sponsored by local individuals and businesses and decorated in a variety of ways by local artists, debuted at the Summer Festival of the Arts on the YSU campus in July before being placed at public locations throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties. After a quick trip to the rotunda of the State Capitol in Columbus, the penguins gathered at Stambaugh Auditorium for the gala sendoff.

On average, each penguin sold for more than $6,500, with two penguins garnering high bids of $16,000 each: “The Mill” by artist Tom Antonishak was purchased by the Ward and Eleanor Beecher Foundations, and “A Penguin’s Dream” by a team of artists from Prodigal Media was purchased by Kathy Kennedy and the Kennedy Family Foundation.

While most of the penguins will remain on display at various locations in the Mahoning Valley, two will be shipped to the home of Dr. S. Walter and Lisa Casey Kran in San Leandro, Calif., near San Francisco.

Kran, a radiologist, said he has collected about 500 penguin statues over the past 20 years and heard about Penguin Parade while in Solon, Ohio, for a family reunion. So, he and his wife came to Youngstown for the auction and purchased two birds for a combined $21,000. Kran will place the penguins in a covered patio at his home.
Valerie Sutton of Salem won “Hot Rod Penguin” in a raffle drawing at the end of the auction. More than 1,500 tickets at $5 each were sold. Sutton said she purchased four tickets when the penguin was on display at the Canfield Fair.

“My youngest son, Jarrod, saw that penguin and he really liked it,” she said. “He wanted to take it home right then.”

The penguin, by artist Guy Shively, is displayed at Den-Dar’s, a clothing store on State Route 62 between Salem and Alliance that Sutton owns.

To see all the penguins, visit www.ysu.edu/penguinparade/.

Copyright ©2004  Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio, 44555

Read story of how the Penguins came to Parade in Youngstown, Ohio

Ward Beecher Planetarium of Youngstown University

shows on weekends are always free and open to the public
Diana Ludwig 2411 Belltown Road Clarington, PA 15828   330-530-2659   studio15828-artwork@yahoo.com