As you may have noticed, a neon sign now lights up the storefront of RPAC Gallery on Ridgefield’s Main Street. This signage serves as the first installment of the “Bow Wow Art Dogs” and “Leader of the Pack Events” which culminate into the celebratory inaugural events of the establishment of the ArtFul Visual Arts Initiative.
Shared on their website, “ArtFul is a non-profit, community-based initiative that supports opportunities for working and aspiring artists. ArtFul is committed to providing subsidies for enriching art education to our community and supporting local as well as national organizations that align with our main principles.”
The “Bow Wow” sign was created by artist Kody Shafer, owner of Neon Spectacular in Wilton. Shafer began working with neon as a teenager in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He later became an apprentice at Absolutely Neon before moving to New York City and later to Osaka, Japan – where he began to work with Yoshi’s Neon Studio. His “Bow Wow” signage serves as the emblem of the coming events.
Local businesses are getting involved by sponsoring an artist of their choice to create resin dog statues to be displayed in town. The goal of this project is to get the ArtFul name and mission out there, allowing it to become a more community-based initiative while simultaneously supporting the businesses and artists involved with this campaign.
“There is going to be a series of about 20 to 23 songs scattered and displayed along Main Street starting mid-June. They will be on display throughout the summer with permission of the town of course!” said Brook Heinen, CFO at RPAC Art Center and Academy
This event doubles as an auction event as all the statues will be adorned with QR codes which will lead spectators to an online silent auction site. Bidding will end on September 25th with the ultimate event of the “Leader of the Pack Auction Event” to be held at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
However, several other activities will take place before these resin dogs can be picked up for “adoption.”
“The Bow Wow sign is the first step to getting the kickoff. In July we want to do a community paint day where the little hotdog doxin dogs will be painted and then scattered around storefronts and retail stores for a scavenger hunt,” said Heinen.
Additionally, around the 3rd weekend of August, the official opening weekend will take place including a dog parade, volunteer vendors, and lots of wagging tails. The proceeds of these events will benefit ROAR, the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, and ArtFul – the hosts and sponsors of the weekend. The hope for the weekend is to bring people back out into the community and together as we approach the tail end of Covid – pun intended.