The morale of high school students might not be the world’s biggest problem, but it’s got the attention of three Oakland, California-based artists who have come up with a Kickstarter campaign to combat teen malaise. Scott Vermeire, Packard Jennings, and Steuart Pittman, who make up Wonderment Consortium, an Oakland-based art collective, have decided to take on the challenge of finding a way to inspire high school students through public art. And what better figure to immortalize with a sculpture series than Tom Hanks, a graduate of Oakland’s Skyline High School?
While not-so-subtly reading off cue cards while a Garage Band strings riff loops in the background, the three artists outline their project with endearing optimism and just the right hint of knowing sarcasm. What’s the most inspiring Hanks character for a nine-foot tall statue? Chuck Noland from Cast Away, of course. But wait, there’s more! For every $10,000 raised above the original 10-grand threshold, the collective will create an additional Hanks statue of another iconic character. If they reach $20,000, Captain John H. Miller from Saving Private Ryan will adorn Skyline High School, $30,000 will put Forrest Gump in front of Fremont High School, and for a staggering $40,000, Coliseum College Prep Academy will get a statue of Hanks as Joe Fox from You’ve Got Mail.
The artists say the statues will be a boon to any high school’s reputation—which they certainly will be, unless Chet Haze continues his oblivious campaign to unwittingly destroy his family’s credibility. The Kickstarter ends in a month, when hopefully the project will enough of a populist success to rival Detroit’s Robocop statue.