Out with the Old, In with the New!

Resolution sculptures are created by artists to help us publicly declare our hopes, dreams, and promises to ourselves for the New Year. Some are simple and perhaps abstract, like a wire strung with Christmas lights. Others take the shape of animals, or even a person – like State College’s Burning Man.

Writing a resolution and placing it next to resolutions already made by friends and neighbors helps all of us know that despite our differences, we’re remarkably similar. We may not look the same, dress the same, or eat the same foods, but resolutions to make the New Year better than the passing year are things we all share in common.

First Bells

First Bells

Noon – 10:00 pm; Sidney Friedman Park

First Bells is a sound sculpture installation made of old bells and a gong. You can make a joyous noise as you ring in the New Year.

Edison’s Clothesline

Sponsored by The Village at Penn State
Noon – 10:00 pm; South Allen Street

In the words of artist Robert Villamagna: During my teenage years my family lived in a row house in a small town on the Ohio River. The houses had been built for employees of a now defunct steel mill. The back yards butted up against one another and most of the yards contained clothes lines. The clothes lines consisted of four sections of rope stretched across two T-shaped poles made from iron pipe.

The hanging of laundry to dry had a strong social aspect to it as women talked across the yards to one another while hanging their clothes. In addition, you got to see all the neighbors’ wardrobes. I duplicated this design in my sculpture, replacing wet clothing with resolutions written on silvery paper discs. I used the white lights as a symbol of hope for the New Year. As the women of my home town shared news while at the clothesline, we share resolutions for the New Year at our updated clothesline. As my old neighbors could see everyone’s laundry, today we can see, enjoy, and learn from everyone’s resolutions for the New Year.

Wheels of Fate

Noon – 10:00 pm; Mayor Welch Plaza

So, you say you want a “resolution”? Well, spin the “wheels of fate” and find the answers to all your New Year’s questions. Will you be happy, find love, money or a new career? The wheels tell all!  In Latin, Rota Fortunae, “The Wheel of Fate” is a concept in ancient and medieval philosophy referring to the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna, who spins it, changing the positions of those on the wheel – some suffer great misfortune, others win great things. Step up, take a spin and see if the wheel smiles upon you.

Created by Pittsburgh artist, Bill Godfrey, the Wheels of Fate invite you to step up and take a chance on the New Year!

Wheels of Fate
First Night State College Bucket List

The Bucket List

Noon – 10:00 pm; Blue Brick Theatre

A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die (as in “kick the bucket”) This simple resolution sculpture asks what’s important to you? What do you want do before you die? Write a novel? Climb a mountain? Learn to fly? Make a chocolate cake as good as your grandmother’s? Learn to speak Japanese?

Share something from your list and be inspired by what’s important to your friends and neighbors.

The First Night Phoenix

Noon – 10:00 pm; State College Municipal Building Lobby

Join Mount Nittany Health at Mayor Welch Plaza, just outside the municipal building to grab your First Night Phoenix tags to tie your hopes, dreams, and regrets to the tail of the rising Phoenix Bird.  This flaming, fiery creature represents “rebirth” by continually emerging from its own ashes to live again. The sacred Firebird is as “old as time” and can be found in ancient mythologies of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Chinese. In the twentieth century, the Firebird was reborn again as a ballet by Igor Stravinsky and a muscle car by General Motors’ Pontiac division. Our phoenix was designed and built by Bill Godfrey.

Resolution Yeti

Noon – 10:00 pm; South Allen Street

A Yeti—formerly known to tabloid readers as The Abominable Snowman—is an ape-like creature taller than an average human, that is said to inhabit the Himalayan and Siberian regions of East Asia.

The Resolution Yeti inhabits the urban regions of Central Pennsylvania. He was created by artist Robert Villamagna to celebrate the winter and to help us collect our resolutions for the New Year. The more resolutions we make, the warmer (and happier!) the Resolution Yeti will be as we move into the New Year.

Fire Sculptures

Sponsored by Karch Auto
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm; Sidney Friedman Park

First Night State College Fire Sculptures allow you to reach closure with your New Year’s resolutions you made for 2023. You will be provided with a piece of wood on which to write your old resolutions, which you will then toss into the fire. Fire Sculptures provide a fun way to start 2024 with a ‘clean slate’ – and warm fingers.

Quest for the Resolution Chest

10:00 am – 10:00 pm; Sidney Friedman Park

Go on a self-guided quest for the perfect New Year’s Resolution! The adventure begins at the ClearWater Conservancy – Centred Outdoors hiking boot ice sculpture in Sidney Friedman Park.  From there let the clues guide you on a journey to the Resolution Chest.  Those who find the chest and complete the quest will get a prize for sharing a resolution they can really “stick” to in 2024!  The entire quest is under a half mile in length and will take approximately 15 – 20 minutes to complete.

Sponsored by ClearWater Conservancy’s Centred Outdoors program

Quest for the Chest
Remembrance Tree

Remembrance Tree

Sponsored by Koch Funeral Home
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm; State College Municipal Building Lobby

As we look forward to a new year, please take a moment to join us in remembering those we’ve lost this year, and all past years. Our loved ones will continue to live on as we decorate and hang ornaments in their honor on the Remembrance Tree. Ornament supplies will be available.

Also, please visit Koch’s luminaria display for the families they served in 2023. This display will be visible at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton Street, between sunset on December 31st and sunrise on January 1st.

The Burning Man

Noon – 9:45 pm; State College Municipal Building Lobby

Inspired by the performance art festival of the same name, the Burning Man Resolution Sculpture makes his annual appearance at First Night State College. He collects our wishes, regrets, and resolutions we didn’t keep.

The Burning Man will live up to his name when we ignite him at 10:00 pm in Sidney Friedman Park. On his short journey from wood and fabric to charcoal, he’ll dispose of all of our loose ends from the past year.

Designed by Carolyn Bryant, Rick Bryant, Phyllis Kipp, and Pam Lautsch.

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