Niemisto park statue unveiling announced

Sculpture to be shown to public Oct. 17

Phil Niemisto is pictured. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — The unveiling of a statue of Phil Niemisto — the man often seen washing downtown windows and tending to a small park along Washington Street — will be at 3 p.m. Oct. 17.

It will take place, fittingly, at the Phil Niemisto Pocket Park.

In its October newsletter Building Blocks, the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, which spearheaded the drive to raise money for the statue, reported that more than $13,500 had been raised for the project.

The statue will cost about $8,000, with the remaining funds used to purchase flowers for the pocket park.

Local artist Earl Senchuk continues to work on the statue, which will face east toward the Lower Harbor, he said in an email.

“As people walk up and down Washington Street, they will see a profile view of Phil seated on the bench with his left arm outstretched,” Senchuk said.

He said the final layer of the sculpture is the clothing.

“Delving into epoxy for the first time has been interesting and rewarding,” Senchuk said. “Looks like I will have a new medium to play with in the future. The Polygem 307 epoxy necessary to do the job costs $800.”

Painting was to be the next step.

“Time for Phil to pick a color for his tie,” Senchuk said. “His shirt will be light blue. His sweater jacket and hat will be a dark navy blue. Phil’s pants will be black. These are the colors that it appears Phil wears most often.”

Senchuk said Niemisto was scheduled to visit his home for final measurements and for him to make molds of Niemisto’s hands. Once his head and face in Plastilina clay is completed, Senchuk said he would make a latex mold of the sculpture. The resultant pure white castings in Permastone will be fitted to Niemisto’s body and hands.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, my past three months of intense effort will be ‘fulPhilled’ at the unveiling on Oct. 17,” Senchuk said. “Although stressful at times, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the challenge.”

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is