August 26 is National Dog Day! To mark this occasion, here are five sculptures found in Little Rock which feature dogs. Two are in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, one is in the Bill Clark Wetlands, one is at the Little Rock Animal Village, and the newest one is in the Heights roundabout.
Ken Newman’s FOREVER READY was donated in 2009 by the Sculpture at the River Market. It is sited in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden. Mr. Newman is a member of the National Sculptors’ Guild. One of Mr. Newman’s specialties is animals. Cast in bronze, Forever Ready depicts a Labrador. Here is Mr. Newman’s artist statement on the piece.
So, ‘Forever Ready’ is that reflection of the breed (hunter, companion and teacher)…Capturing its intense nature with discipline and loyalty, I have set the lab on edge so intense, that if not given the command to go, it will just fall off. But, it is able to maintain balance – wet and ready to go again. The lab’s shadow is cast in the water below, for a I cannot think of a lab without water.
A few yards from Forever Ready, another dog stands inquisitively. Commissioned in 2010 and unveiled in 2011, Dan Glanz’s BORIS is a likeness of Boris Kumpuris, the dog and companion of Mary and Dr. Dean Kumpuris.
Glanz captures the friendly and inquisitive nature of Boris in this work, which can be found in the Vogel Schwarz sculpture garden. Most weekends Boris can be seen with Dean as the two walk through Riverfront Park and the River Market. Boris explores and inspects the park along with Dean. Each year during the Sculpture at the River Market show, Boris visits with Dean and meets all the sculptors.
The sculpture was donated by longtime Kumpuris family friend Margaret Clark. She and her late husband Bill were two of the earliest supporters of sculpture along the Arkansas River. They donated another piece in honor of their grandchildren. A sculpture in memory of Bill was stands in the wetlands park which bears his name.
The Bill Clark Wetlands is actually the location of the third dog. It is Chloe, Bill Clark’s faithful hunting dog. She stands next to Bill in Clay Enoch’s sculpture STEADY. Dedicated in 2011, it was a tribute to the man who helped build the Clinton Presidential Library.
This tribute to Clark shows Bill and Chloe in an early morning duck hunt scanning the horizon. It is also positioned so that Bill is also gazing at the Clinton Presidential Center. His firm was the contractor on that building, and he spent thousands of hours walking in the area looking at the building during the construction.
A portion of the ground he trod during construction has been set aside as the Bill Clark Wetlands, and STEADY is placed in the wetlands as a memorial to Bill.
In 2015, the Little Rock Animal Village unveiled Lorri Acott’s WHO RESCUED WHO. Located at the entrance to the Little Rock Animal Village, it depicts a person and dog looking at each other. They are sharing a bond of respect, admiration and love.
The human figure has Acott’s trademark extended length legs. These represent the ability to overcome obstacles and rise above adversity. This is even more apt when considering the role that pets can play in our lives, as well as the role humans play in “adopting” rescued pets.
The sculpture is dedicated to the memory of Jack Adcock. It is given by his family, which includes longtime City Director Joan Adcock, their two children, eleven grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Little Rock’s newest canine sculpture is Ken Newman’s Taking Attendance. It is installed in the new roundabout at Kavanaugh and McKinley.
In discussing the sculpture, Newman says:
The forms, shapes and gestures of my sculptures are expressions of external and internal influences, and influences not necessarily from models or photographs. This sculpture signifies the moments when I have encouraged my dog to walk in front of me unleashed, as it fosters confidence in our relationship.