By Jim Lundstrom
The lowly cackleberry was elevated to new heights last summer as people flocked around the 50 artistic pullet bullets that were created to celebrate the Village of Egg Harbor’s 50th year as a municipality and took hundreds of family photos and selfies to commemorate the summer of arty eggs in beautiful downtown Egg Harbor.
But perhaps even better, when the eggy creations were sold in auction on Aug. 23, they raised in the neighborhood of $150,000.
“I told all the sponsors in a letter after the event, you did not know what you were getting into when you signed up. It could have been a big fiasco, but they put their money down on faith in our project,” said T.C. Johnson, chair of the village’s Public Art Committee.
The yolk was on those who did not believe in the project.
“It was more work than we thought it would be, but the turnout was much higher then we expected,” Johnson said. “One of the eggs went for $18,5000 and the average was $3,000. I thought if one person paid $3,000 for an egg, we were doing good.”
After the artists who created the 50 eggs for the celebration received half of the amount raised at the live and silent auctions, and the village expenses were paid for, the Public Art Committee received $61,500 to purchase more public art for the village. The committee decided to use $15,000 of that to commission three eggs from the artists who created the most popular eggs of the Eggstravaganza to go on permanent display in the village.
“No one is going to see them or know what they look like until we pull the covers off Memorial Day weekend 2015,” Johnson said. “We’ll have our Bird City presentation and the unveiling of the eggs.”
The three artists chosen for the permanent eggs are Sally Everhardus, Dave Reimer and the team of Kathy Mand Beck and Cynthia Board.
But the eggs won’t stop there. A sequel is in the works. Although details are still being worked out by Johnson’s committee, there will be an Eggstravaganza II in 2016.
“The way it works out, my committee decided that we have a momentum, and we should do it another time. The artists and the people who wanted to buy eggs kept asking, ‘When are you going to do it again?’ So, OK, we’ll do it,” Johnson said.
Instead of the 50 eggs commissioned for the village’s 50th anniversary, Johnson said they are thinking of 25 to 30 eggs, and unlike the first Eggstravaganza, this time all of the eggs will be sold in a live auction.
“Some of the artists chosen to be in the silent auction were disappointed they weren’t in the live auction,” Johnson said.
He expects the process for artists to open in the fall of 2015 when they will be asked to submit sketches to the Public Art Committee, which will then decide which artists and egg concepts they want to see on the streets of Egg Harbor.
“They’ll have the winter to work on them and then we’ll unveil the eggs Memorial Day weekend 2016,” Johnson said.
The Egg Harbor Business Association has been recruited to assist with the organization of the 2016 event.
“They are going to help with some of the paperwork and footwork that it takes to run it,” Johnson said. “We hope we’ll get more event sponsors and a better turnout from businesses.”
Volunteers are also needed. “We have some people we’re going to ask, but more volunteers would be good,” Johnson said.
If you would like to help, contact Johnson at 920.868.1058.