On October 23, 2015 the Erie Harbor Bird was installed in between Mt. Hope Avenue and the Genesee River near the head of Hickory Street in the South Wedge. It will sit on a circular concrete footing created by John Dennis of Hartworks on Hickory St and Neal Muscarella, master of all things masonry, of Albion, NY. Created by Rochester artist and South Wedge resident Jill Gussow, the Erie Harbor Bird is a mosaic and concrete sculpture of a crow 7 feet long and 5 feet tall. It was commissioned by the City of Rochester for the Erie Harbor Enhancement Public Improvement Project in 2014 and financed in part by the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS).
The sculpture, weighing approximately 1000 pounds, was transported by Heaster Building Restoration, a Rochester company that has been involved in many enhancement projects in the city including, the Wheel restoration at High Falls and the Culver Road Armory.
Jill Gussow has created other public and private art in Rochester, including a 456 sq. ft. mosaic mural on the wall of the East End Garage in 2009, two murals on the outside of the Natural Pet Food Store on South Clinton in 2011 and one for SUNY Brockport’s new Liberal Arts building in 2014. In 2013 she created a floor mosaic for a veterinary clinic in Rosebud, Australia.
After years of teaching art at various local universities and exhibiting her work nationally and internationally, Jill started working on public art projects. She collaborated with fellow artist Marcia Smith in creating Hope Wall at Highland Hospital. Patients, families and staff at the hospital painted ceramic tiles of hope and healing that were made into a mural surrounded by hand painted tiles and mosaics designed by Jill.
Jill Gussow has been painting and drawing birds for years but this is her first large three dimensional sculpture of a bird and her first three dimensional mosaic. The bird is an homage to the infamous crows of Rochester, so loved in the South Wedge. It is also a personification of the spirit of scavenging, regeneration and survival that has occurred in this section of the city.