The public art project, “Go Fish!” began when Susan Black-Keim, Gannon University’s vice president for university advancement, proposed the idea to fill downtown Erie with fish sculptures, modeled after Chicago’s,Cows on Parade. In the fall of 2000, Gannon entered into a partnership with the Erie Art Museum to conduct a public art project, and a volunteer committee known as The Fish Commish, headed by Jody Farrell and Mary Alice Doolin, was formed to design the project and see it to completion.
Local artist David L. Seitzinger was commissioned to design two different fish models, horizontal and vertical, that were produced at the Molded Fiber Glass Company plant in Union City. Potential sponsors for the art, including corporations, organizations, and individuals, were contacted. Although sponsorships were slow at the beginning, PNC Financial Services Group and National City Bank stepped up with major sponsorships that assured that the project would move forward. That spring artists began receiving their fish to transform. In May 2001, Bill Doan’s Cosmic Fish was the first to be installed, in front of Gannon’s Old Main. As soon as a few fish appeared on the streets of downtown Erie, sponsorship began to pour in. By the end of the summer, over 90 GoFish had transformed Erie into a virtual aquarium. Many of the GoFish are still visible all around the city and its environs.