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First Night: Artist Designs Fiery Phoenix as New Resolution Site

by on December 28, 2013 10:01 AM

A two-story, colorful fabric Phoenix bird created by artist Bill Godfrey will be a new resolution piece for First Night State College this year.

Godfrey says the theme is "basically rising from the ashes to sort of recreate yourself for the new year."

For months, Godfrey has been working with hot colored fabrics, including oranges, reds and yellows along with tons of sequins and glitter fabric.

The massive piece will be suspended from the second floor balcony railing at State College Borough Hall on South Allen Street.

The span of the wings will be 25 feet and go up two-stories.

"What's sort of interesting about it is the tail is made out of orange construction fencing so viewers will be able to tie their dreams or regrets on the tail of the Phoenix bird, making individual feathers that will be tied to the bird," says Godfrey.

The resolution site isn't the only project Godfrey will be presenting this year. He also created the Gravity Powered Fortune Matrix, which will be located in the 100 block of South Allen Street.

How it works is a participant drops a ball from the top of the contraption, the ball bounces off various nails on the way down, before falling into a slot with a fortune. The idea is that gravity offers the participant a fortune for the new year.

Godfrey lives in Tarentum, which is roughly 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh. For roughly 10 years, he and his close friend from New York have spent New Year's Eve in State College.

"I love coming to State College. It's really charming and wonderful," he says.

Godfrey designs large, fabric artwork for city parks and art festivals across the country. Click HERE to view some of his work.

First Night is a massive, family-friendly downtown New Year's Eve celebration that features events from 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 to midnight on Jan. 1. This year is the 20th anniversary of the event in State College, which is modeled after a celebration started in Boston in 1976.

Nearly all outdoor festivities are free. A $10 button allows access to all indoor performances and concerts. Click HERE for more information.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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