The Big Dog Show came to Bonita Springs, Florida on March 8, 2013. The 500 pound, 8 x 10 sculptures by famed artist Dale Rogers were under his watchful eye as they were installed at Liles Hotel Plaza, Riverside Park. I was there with my 94 years young mom, watching the installation. I stepped from the car to introduce myself to Dale Rogers whose warm greeting was special.
I interviewed Dale Rogers in his Massachusetts studio for an article in the Southwest Spotlight, Bonita Springs News Magazine a month earlier. We chatted a little in the Riverside Park in the shadow of the giant dog sculptures about the self-sealing con-10 steel that was used to create them. As I started to leave, he gave me two miniature, aluminum replicas of the Big Dog Sculptures that are memento key chains.
Mom and I enjoyed looking at the exhibit and appreciated our mementos. Mom’s visit was winding to a close, so it was a nice ending. When it came time to drive mom to Michigan, she needed souvenirs to give my brother and his wife. They have a dog they adore, and we decided to part with our Big Dog Show key chains. We planned to give them copies of the Southwest Spotlight articles to make their souvenirs more interesting.
My brother stopped by mom’s Michigan home when we arrived. He and his family live a modest, mid-western lifestyle. They take motorcycle trips for vacations and enjoy following the NASCAR races. My sister-in-law makes crafts with artistic wood burning. She has a bit of an artistic flair. They have a very nice family with two adult children, one a bio-statistician and the other owns a videography business. They lead busy lives. Art galleries are not their first priority for recreation.
Mom gave The Big Dog show key chains to my brother. I give him the magazine articles. I thought we were done. Then my brother said as he turned the mementos over in his hand,
“We have been to exactly two art shows. Both were outdoors in Grand Rapids. I think I have seen these big dogs.”
“Well,” I said, “Dale Rogers did hang sculptured monkeys from a bridge in Grand Rapids for an outdoor art show.”
“That’s it!” proclaimed my brother. “We saw those monkeys on the bridge. That was one of the two outdoor art shows we attended.” He remembered the sculptures on the bridge. He remembered The Big Dog Show. Art on a grand scale is memorable, even in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We talked at length about my knowledge of the artist and his work and the materials from which he makes his sculptures. Our conversation centered, though, on how unusual that we would bring mementos from Bonita Springs to my brother and his wife from an artist they had seen in previous years in Grand Rapids. Certainly, it was serendipity!
There’s something unique and special about the full circle from Bonita Springs to Grand Rapids, Michigan that a bit of art has made in the conversation in our family. It feels nice and confirms the importance of art in our lives, indoors or outdoors, to expand our horizons and even better connect with loved ones in new and exciting ways. www.dkchristi.com
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