Local work of art honors Marquette’s Phil Niemisto

While we have used this space in the past to recommend readers attend art exhibits or benefits, we haven’t often suggested Journal followers seek out a specific piece of art.

The reason has been simple: there are so many fine artists in Superiorland, focusing on just one in an opinion piece might seem to some as unfair.

That said, a piece of art has been produced that, we believe, transends that policy in a way we suspect our readers will be comfortable with because of who it deals with: Phil Niemisto.

Phil who was a wonderful downtown Marquette icon for more years than we can remember, passed away in late February. Always ready with a smile and kind word, Phil was best known, arguably, for washing windows in downtown businesses.

Additionally, he kept up that neat little green space located on the north side of the 100 block of the Pocket Park, insuring its flowers were well tended and the area kept tidy and clean.

Now, art in the form of a mural has been created that honors both endeavors. It’s being displayed as part of Art Week in the city of Marquette, which is this week.

“It wasn’t me so much as it was a bunch of people who said, ‘what can we do to honor Phil in his park?'” artist Elizabeth Howe, said for a Mining Journal story on the matter.

“The design and the process of mulling through all the different ways it could be done took a couple of months, the pieces themselves took a couple of weeks.

Howe chose to use Plexiglas pieces to represent Niemesto’s career as a window washer and paint geraniums, a flower beloved by him, on each sheet. Howe, with artists Elisa Howe, Dyana Nefe and Chris Collins, covered the large windows of the tower that connects Bluff Street to Washington with giant geraniums.

Meanwhile, businesses like Java Bay, Michigan Made, Donckers and Gathered Earth helped make the project a possibility by donating funds for the cost of the project’s mater, the Journal story detailed.

Knowing Phil as we did, we believe Howe and her collaborators got this exactly right. We urge people to swing by the site to check it out. You won’t be sorry you did.