2010 may be the year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar, but in Hewlett and Woodmere, it is the Year of the Bulldog.
In recent years, many cities have featured public art exhibitions such as the "Cow Parade" and "Painted Ponies" (Providence, Rhode Island used Mr. Potato Head) to showcase local art while raising money for charity. The idea of using the Hewlett High School bulldog mascot to create similar excitement is the brainchild of Ira Friedman, a longtime area resident and Hewlett High School graduate. When Mr. Friedman joined forces with Jessica Bayer, the Hewlett-Woodmere School District 14 Art Chairperson, it was the birth of Project Bulldog. Since last summer's construction of the template bulldog, students, community artists, art faculty and famous alumni of Hewlett High School have created a magical pack of jowly composite canines. Sponsors contributed $250 to the project. Profits went to the Hewlett-Woodmere Endowment Fund, earmarked for art department needs and initiatives.
"The excitement and energy is contagious," said Jessica Bayer in a November 2009 interview with the Nassau Herald. "The real learning going on is apparent in the generation of ideas, the rich dialogue about technique, and the remarkable artwork being created."
Some of the more famous participants include fashion designer Donna Karan ('66), contemporary artist Ross Bleckner ('67), architect Wendy Evans Joseph ('73).While all have the same basic shape, they are as unique as the imaginations of their creators.
Some are decorated in paint, some are mosaics, others feature feathers, jewels, pencils and some materials which defy description. They all have personalities of their own and, while displayed in public spaces and stores throughout the village during the Spring, became favorites wherever they appeared.
The main event of Project Bulldog will be a barbeque and auction at the Seawane Club, to be held on Thursday, June 17th at 6:30 p.m. A $65 ticket entitles the bearer to cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a gourmet barbeque, and dessert. Proceeds from ticket sales and from the auction will benefit the Hewlett High School Art Department.
The bulldogs are currently all assembled at the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library in anticipation of their special day. Stop by and pick your favorite. The Library is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. during the exhibit. Please check details on the Library's web site.
In the words of Superintendent of Schools Les Omotani:
This unique collaboration benefits the arts, our students, local merchants, residents and the community as a whole... I love the Project Bulldog concept, applaude its initiative and look forward to the positive impact it is poised to generate.
(Nassau Herald, November 19, 2009)