Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

June 13, 2006 > Art Car

Art Car

by Arathi Satish

Fremont's 50th birthday is being celebrated in style all over the city in many ways. The Creative Engagement Team is creating an "Art Car" as part of the birthday celebration. This interactive art project uses coins from around the world to celebrate both Fremont and its diverse blend of cultures.

The concept is use pennies, tokens and other small coins to create murals on the car depicting the Mission, Warm Springs, Niles, Irvington and Centerville areas, plus Lake Elizabeth.

Margaret Thornberry, co-chair of the team said, "Now that the concept is becoming a reality, more people are interested, the work is going a bit faster, and more appearances are being scheduled. The main limitation now is finding 'Fremont Art Car Wranglers who can help people place coins on the car, manage the glue, and answer questions about Celebrate Fremont."

Jim and Rich Brunelli of Central Chevrolet donated the vehicle. Although technically a "van," all involved think of it as the Art Car. This unique vehicle will be on display at various locations throughout the city, including the dealership.

"I'm working on a way to depict landmarks such as the Irvington Monument, starting with an experiment to sculpt a Fremontia blossom in a durable material that will hold when glued on. This plant, commonly called the 'flannel bush,' was discovered by John C. Fremont and is the official flower of the city of Fremont, with its five petals representing the five districts that came together 50 years ago," said Thornberry.

At the city's birthday celebration held September 8 and 9 in Central Park, a "Guess How Many Coins" contest will take place. The Fremont Art Car will be parked at the Arts Pavilion in the Contemporary area where contestants can make their best guess, but probably not by simple math calculations. Sure, 256 pennies will cover approximately one square foot, but what about overlaps, foreign coins, varying denominations and ... hidden coins? Winning won't be easy!

This is not a fundraising effort, so there is no charge for placing a coin on the car. Residents are encouraged to bring their pennies, tokens and small coins to glue on the car. Please be advised, once glued in place, they won't come off! Coins will be provided if needed.

Thornberry hopes that once the 50th anniversary is over, the Art Car will continue to be embellished and enjoyed at public events for many years to come. She said, "I've always wanted to do an Art Car. I love meeting the people of Fremont and helping them decide where their coin should be placed so they can find it again when the Fremont Art Car comes by. It's fascinating to see how many different countries' coins are on the car already."

For a schedule of appearances and more information, visit

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