The three mosaic panels address concerns and problems in the South Park neighborhood, which helped create the artwork. The pieces were completed in 1998 as part of an improvement project, and some residents say the public art retains important meaning for them.


It's bright green, about 13 feet tall and sticks its tongue out at everybody who looks at it.

Its name is "Goop," and the sculpture used to live at Magic Carpet Golf, until he was adopted in 2009 after the mini-golf course's closure in 2008. Goop currently resides at 5733 E. North St.

The being, which was created by artist Lee Koplin, was one of the many Koplin sculptures at Magic Carpet adopted by Tucson residents and businesses.

It was known as "Goop" at Magic Carpet, but many also called it the "Green Alien," even though it changed colors over the years with new paint jobs.

Valley of the Moon's president, Randy Van Nostrand, said Goop was originally slated to go to Valley of the Moon to be mounted on a wheeled trailer and used as a parade float. But, that was too much labor and too much money, so he went up for adoption.

Artist Charles Spillar, who supervised and coordinated the adoption and removal of the sculptures, said Goop's current owner, a retired dentist, "just had a real attraction to the piece."

According to Spillar, it was a difficult task to move the 13-foot-tall sculpture. As with the others, the alien is made of rebar and concrete, weighing in at approximately 8,000 to 10,000 pounds.

A crane had to be used to lift it, and the sculpture had to be cut, so the bottom would be level when it arrived at its new home.

Spillar was on a personal mission to save all of the sculptures, after one that he had personally created was torn down in California to make room for a driveway.

"I didn't want that to happen to these guys," he said. "It was my way of saving a piece of art."

The current owner of Goop was unavailable for comment, but a neighbor, Audrey Edwards, said she had seen Goop outside with wooden boards to stabilize the newest member of the neighborhood.

Edwards "considers it an alien who enjoyed its new environment and chose to stay."

"I love Goop," said Spillar. "I love all the strange creatures from Magic Carpet. . . . I think Lee Koplin and I were kindred spirits speaking the same language."

Got an oddity?

Is there something you've noticed while driving through Tucson that has piqued your curiosity? Or is there some piece of Old Pueblo history you've wondered about? Drop us a line, and we'll look into it. Call the Star newsroom at 573-4232 or send an e-mail to

Contact Angela Pittenger at 573-4203 or