NEW HAVEN — Way larger-than-life bulldogs attracted a lot of attention the week of the New Haven Canal Days Festival. Fourteen of the colorfully decorated bulldogs were lined up in front of the New Haven City Building on Lincoln Highway. Then, they were loaded onto two Robinson’s Wrecker Service trucks and hauled along the festival parade route Saturday, June 8.

Now, all 14 of them are resting on the properties belonging to the organizations or businesses that sponsored their decoration by local artists. In addition, nine small versions (pups) were also decorated and more are expected to be done in the next few months.

The Bulldogs are part of a civic pride fundraiser sponsored by the New Haven Community Foundation and the New Haven Chamber of Commerce. The bulldog was chosen because it has been the New Haven High School mascot for decades and is basically considered the city’s mascot, as well. “This was the first ever public art project undertaken in New Haven,” explained Chamber of Commerce secretary Charlie Hatten. “It not only is a matter of civic pride, but showcased our local art talent.”

Twelve of the dogs will be featured on individual pages of a 2020 calendar which will go on sale later this year.

The large Military Dog decorated with U.S. Military Service emblems by artist Shannen Colter will be placed at the Veterans Memorial in Schnelker Park. It was sponsored by Douglas W. Perkins CPA. A small version sponsored by the New Haven Chamber, also painted by her, will be rotated between American Legion Post 330, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Navy Club Ship 245 in New Haven.

Bulldogs can be seen around New Haven at RE/Max Imagine Real Estate, 221 Lincoln Highway East; Partner’s 1st Federal Credit Union, 634 Broadway; Robinson’s Wrecker Service, 1721 Lincoln Highway East; and Heritage Park, 2002 Heritage Park Drive. The fiberglass statues can also be seen at McMahon’s Best One Tire, 3125 Adams Center Road; and 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union, 10915 Isabelle Drive. The Bulldog Consulting dog will be on display at their office at 6319 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne.

The one at the Allen County Public Library Branch is sponsored by Hockemeyer Eye Care, NIPSCO sponsored the one at the New Haven Fire Station, Strahan Building Solutions sponsored the dog at New Haven High School, Indiana Physical Therapy sponsored the one at New Haven Primary School, the New Haven Intermediate School sponsored one to be displayed at the school and the one at Canal Place was donated anonymously.

Small bulldogs were purchased by Sam and Molly Graves, Domino’s Pizza, Nietert Insurance, Better Business Bureau, Dairy Queen, New Haven Pet Hospital, Orchid Events and Catering and New Haven Trophy.

Artists participating in the project included Valerie McBride, Troy Ganse, Larry Davis, Kim Linker, Jo Dommer, Shannen Colter, Cara Keefe, Bernadette Weller, Ina Scott and Angela Daniel.

“The project has been more successful than we imagined,” said Hatten. “One person was so impressed with the bulldogs that she is going to put the New Haven Foundation in her estate. Another person purchased a large one for his wife which she is going to have painted gold to match the color of his car, and a woman in Pennsylvania saw them on Facebook and bought a large one, too.

Cost to purchase a large bulldog was $2,500 and $900 for a small one. That included the bulldog, artist fee, clear coating, concrete base, mounting hardware and a plaque noting the sponsor and the artist. Clear coating of all the bulldogs was done free of charge by Robinson’s Wrecking Service.

Sam Graves, new president of the New Haven Foundation, said the money raised by the sale of the bulldogs will be used to purchase additional Christmas decorations for the city and refurbish the ball diamonds at Havenhurst Park. “We’re also considering doing some public benches,” he added.

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