Fish mural keychains a novel idea

A good number of newspaper people are history buffs. After all, newspapers are the first recorders of history, putting in print today what our ancestors will someday use to get a sense of what Northeast Michigan was like in the year 2019.

That is part of the reason why we were so impressed with the latest novel idea from Griffin James, owner of the Local Basket Case.

Alpena’s fish mural in the pocket park between James’ store and what is now Mango’s Tequila Bar on West Chisholm Street was destroyed in a wind storm in fall 2017. But the mural has been resurrected — thanks to the teamwork, creativity, and dedication of Alpena’s people — and was on Saturday rededicated in an event called Fishapalooza that was a rousing success.

During Saturday’s event, James sold keychains that were made from pieces of the destroyed mural, pieces of which were given to James by mural artist Tony Hendrick.

Proceeds from the sales of the keychain benefitted Art in the Loft, which was one of many organizations that helped in the mural’s rebirth.

So, several residents and visitors on Saturday got to take home a piece of the city’s history while benefitting an organization helping in its future.

We love it.

James told reporter Steve Schulwitz for a story in Saturday’s paper that he still has material from the original mural and is likely to make more keychains in the future to benefit other organizations.

Keep up the good work, James.



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