Hamilton, Ohio – They’re baaa-ack.
The area prankster(s) who dressed up the First Ride sculpture outside the Fitton Center for Creative Arts as a scene from the Steven King novel-turned-movie IT last Halloween, changed a vowel for 2022.
Now the J. Seward Johnson Jr. outdoor artwork resembles an iconic scene from Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
In the movie, Eliot (played by Henry Thomas) places E.T. in a milk crate set on the handlebars of his bike; he and his buddies race out on Halloween night to get their alien pal to a place where he can phone home. E.T. helps them by enabling them to fly, silhouetted against a giant full moon.
“This is amazing,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, Fitton Center Executive director. “When I was driving into work this morning I noticed the red jacket and thought, ‘That’s nice. Somebody put a raincoat on the rider.’ But when I got closer and saw the whole thing, I almost swerved off the road.”
While “They’re baaa-ack” actually comes Poltergeist, the Spielberg connection remains strong. The Cincinnati native produced the latter while directing former; the films were released within a week of one another 40 years ago in June of 1982.
The father in the sculpture now wears a hazardous materials suit, representative of the government agents who eventually discover E.T. and lock down the house where he lives with Eliot and his family.
“Honestly, I wish we had thought of this ourselves,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “This is so, so good. Just wonderful. I feel like we won Halloween.”
The identity of the statue dresser is a mystery, but nobody is going to look too hard at security video to try and figure out the instigator(s).
“We love that people are interacting with the sculpture,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “It obviously resonates with them. And they are having a good time, adding to the community conversation. We’d like to thank whoever did it in person, but as long as there’s no damage to the piece and they want to remain anonymous we’re happy to just enjoy their work. It’s good fun”
Several media outlets picked up on the story - including The Journal News and WLWT - while Fitton Center Director of Education & Outreach Kate Rowekamp reimagined the E.T. poster with the decorated sculpture. (See below)
First Ride stands on the east side of the Fitton Center building on the north edge of the pergola at 101 S. Monument Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio. It’s visible from the street, especially as drivers come down Court Street to the intersection at Monument. It is part of the City of Sculpture collection.
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
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