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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cultural Trust, Artist Reach Rubber-Duck Detente

Posted By on Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and cartoonist Joe Wos have reached an agreement over Wos’ use of the image of the giant rubber duck that’s part of the Trust’s Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts.

The gist is that the Trust won’t object to Wos’ “Quack N’ At” T-shirts as long as all of the proceeds benefit The Toonseum, the nonprofit museum of cartoon art he runs Downtown.

Wos had previously said that only a portion of the proceeds from T-shirt sales would benefit the Toonseum.

A few weeks back, Wos had upset the Trust by announcing he was taking orders for T-shirts bearing an image of artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck Project, plus the motto “Quack N’ At.” The Trust wrote Wos to ask him to stop selling the shirts because he was infringing on the festival and its own merchandise sales.

Wos refused, and in fact last Friday was selling “Quack N’ At” shirts at the Trust’s Rubber Duck Bridge Party, from a booth perhaps 100 yards from the Trust’s own official merchandise booth, featuring duck buttons, hats and T-shirts.

The party drew thousands who filled the Clemente Bridge and lined both sides of the river to witness the arrival by river of the 40-foot-tall inflatable yellow duck. Both booths seemed to be doing brisk business, though the line at the Trust booth was considerably longer.

But bygones appear to be bygones. Here’s the statement the Trust issued about 11 a.m. today:

“The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Toonseum have come to a positive resolution regarding Quack N'at T-shirts with 100% of the proceeds now benefiting the non-profit Toonseum. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is an ardent supporter of Toonseum and independent artists. Both organizations share a common goal of getting people to flock to Pittsburgh's Cultural District for outstanding arts and entertainment. We look forward to focusing on the incredibly favorable attention the Rubber Duck Project is bringing our city.”

The Trust was not taking additional questions. Wos could not immediately be reached for comment.

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