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Published October 14th, 2020
Something fishy going on at Lafayette art gallery
The process of hanging and lighting the fish Oct. 1 at JPG@TheBank in Lafayette took 12 hours. Photo Pippa Fisher

An aquarium has been installed high above the pop-up art gallery in downtown Lafayette, for those who look up as they pass by.
No less than 73 colorful fish are `swimming' up in the glass tower of the old World Savings Bank, that is now home to Jennifer Perlmutter's gallery, known as JPG@TheBank.
Not real fish, of course, but instead brightly painted and decorated, sturdy cardboard aquatic life moving gently in the breeze, their motion quite mesmerizing.
And, proving that artists walk amongst us and that art indeed belongs to the community, these art creations were all made by members of the public, from kindergartners on up, including some adults.
It was the idea of Ken Hughes, a structural engineer who has his office above the old Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery opposite Diablo Foods. Perlmutter describes him as an artist. Hughes says the idea came to him as he sat at the traffic lights leaving the Safeway parking lot, looking at the building. Inspired partly by the large fish displayed outside the gallery, but perhaps more by the entry tower that he says resembles a goldfish bowl, he and Perlmutter set about recruiting artists for the project.
Perlmutter says COVID-19 was a factor in not having a huge response initially. "So Ken had a driveway party with friends one Sunday and we recruited a few gallery friends and painted over a weekend," says Perlmutter, "and now the tank is full!"
Hughes says that he wanted to let people express themselves so gave very few directions other than that the fish should be between 18- and 36-inches long. "We wanted to include all the work and we want everyone to see their work," he explains.
It took Hughes eight hours to hang the fish on Oct. 1, and another four to set up the LED strip lighting.
"I'm thrilled with it," says Perlmutter. "It's another thing to bring added beauty and levity to your day - through all the smoke and pandemic, we find a reason to smile!"

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