James Simon is the force behind the Art on Gist Street Project. On his web site he explains what the project is about:
The paintings and sculpture are adding color, style, and narrative to this decayed urban environment by changing the reputation of Gist Street from a place where prostitutes do business, to an "art street" where people slow down to see what's new.
We hope to continually transform the visual atmosphere of this depressed, at-risk neighborhood with a diverse range of accessible high quality public art.
This piece is actually a composite of three pieces by three artists.
Two Dogs sculpture by James Simon was the first artwork placed here. From photos we’ve found on line it seems the neighborhood kids fell in love with the concrete schnauzer and dachshund immediately.
In June of this year (2013), the Dachshund was (gasp!) dognapped. Happy to report that it was returned about a week later. WTAE reported that two teenagers returned the artwork with a broken paw, claiming they found it at a party. Mr Simon is reported as saying that he won’t press any charges. We’re just very happy the statue was returned and apparently we were not the only ones. We found this sign on the utility pole next to the artwork when we rode up to confirm that the statue was back in his usual place:
The statue was returned with a cracked front paw.
Artist Justin Blair apparently felt that the dogs needed their own Fire Hydrant and added that element to the scene.
Adding a little more interest to the landscape on the wall of the auto body shop is Barbara Richardson’s clever The Red Pop Machine. Look closely. The pop is all artist–branded for the
Gist Cola company.
Mr Simon explained to us that there used to be an actual pop machine at this location, but it became a nuisance so the auto body shop removed it. The painted version filled in the visual void without the noise and problems that came with the real machine.
In 2015 the building got a face lift and the Pop Machine disappeared. They did manage to save the Fire Hydrant. Then a really cool, metal bench by James Simon appeared, along with a kind of scraggly bunny.