Link Lima Success Story: Robot Mannequins Invade Lima

Author: Link Lima/Allen County May 5, 2017

No, they are not artificially intelligent beings bent on destroying the human race, as found in science fiction movies and television shows. They’re actually wooden mannequins designed to look like robots, and they serve a much less sinister purpose than those depicted in sci-fi programs.

The 7-foot-tall wooden mannequins have been hidden around Lima, hanging on storefront windows and from the rafters of a local school. In all, 19 robot mannequins can be found in as many locations around town. They were designed by Brett Stover, manager of The Meeting Place on Market, and constructed by inmates at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution.

The purpose, Link/Lima Allen County Program Director Doug Arthur said, is to get people excited about MakerFest, a three-day career expo held annually in Lima. Each mannequin is holding a sign that reads “MakerFest 2017 coming in October.”

“Over the course of the six months leading up to MakerFest, we will move them around to different locations within each organization and change the sign three or four times to intriguing messages,” Arthur said.

The mannequins made their first appearance at MakerFest 2016. Each one hung high in the air throughout the Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center, where the event was held. Arthur said they received such an overwhelming response that they decided to reuse the mannequins again as a type of MakerFest mascot.

“It’s something that has become part of the MakerFest culture,” he said.
When October hits, the mannequins will move back to the Civic Center, where they will be displayed in a different way than last year.

Arthur said the hope is that seeing the mannequins around town will elicit a reaction from local residents.

“It also contributes to the personality of Lima,” he said. “It’s one more thing that identifies and differentiates Lima from surrounding communities like Findlay, Bluffton and others. It’s something we think is unique, special and innovative.”

Local residents can look for the mannequins at Lima Memorial Health System, Procter & Gamble, Apollo Career Center, the Lima Mall and other locations around the city.

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.