Guillermo the Golden Trout undergoes repairs for 25th anniversary

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Guillermo the Golden Trout undergoes repairs for 25th anniversary
Photo credit: Mike Kinney

By Mike Kinney

On Monday, repairs on Guillermo the Golden Trout, which hangs above the Richmond Art Center on Barrett Avenue, was completed.

A small team replaced two metal scales on the 50-foot-long fish. The repair is in honor of the fish’s 25th anniversary at Richmond Art Center.

This reporter was admitted to the rooftop to get a bird’s eye of the fish sculpture.

Richmond Art Center Executive Director Jose Rivera expressed excitement over the repairs.

“We had been working for months for to get the parts,” Rivera said. “Our team and the City government did a wonderful job to help make this amazing day finally happen.”

RAC Community Engagement Director Amy Spencer noted that once the scaffolding had been put in place, two scales were repaired. One had fallen off and had been lost.

Luckily the artist had a single replacement at her studio. The other one had become bent out of shape, possibly from the wind, and needed to be flattened.

“The replacement scale was the important part…the fish had gone many years with a hole in the middle of it where the missing scale had been,” Spencer said.

Guillermo the Golden Trout embodies artist Andrée Singer Thompson’s ongoing concern with healing and survival. The artist chose California’s state fish – the golden trout – as a symbol of hope, since at the time it had just been declassified as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“I made it because I was involved in the environment, Thompson said. “I am extremely happy it has lasted so long hanging at the Richmond Art Center.”

It was installed at Richmond Art Center in 1997 as part of Thompson’s ‘Making Waves’ interactive EcoArt installation. Messages of hope from the community are inscribed on the back of the fish’s scales. The eye is made of a metal lampshade. It was made from 800 pounds of recycled metal and is 50 feet long. Guillermo was repainted back in 2008.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., a free community party will be held at the Richmond Art Center (2540 Barrett Ave.) called “Go Fish! Celebrating 25 Years of Guillermo, the Golden Trout.”

The RAC states: “Join us for a community party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Andrée Singer Thompson’s iconic fish sculpture that adorns Richmond Art Center’s building. We’ll be wishing Guillermo, the Golden Trout happy birthday with art-making, games, live music, auction and cake.”