Brightly painted, larger-than-life bulldogs will begin appearing outside and inside New Haven businesses later this year.

The colorful statues are part of a civic pride fundraiser sponsored by the New Haven Community Foundation and the New Haven Chamber of Commerce. The campaign echoes IPFW’s 2004 “Mastodons on Parade” public art project that celebrated the university’s 40th anniversary.

“The bulldog was chosen because it’s the New Haven High School mascot and most residents consider it the city’s mascot as well,” Chamber President Charlie Hatten said.

The goal is to find homes for a dozen 6-by-4-foot fiberglass bulldogs and two dozen 3-by-4-foot statues at local businesses. The businesses will select artwork by local artists to adorn the statues’ fiberglass skins.

A prototype of the large bulldog, which can be seen at the New Haven Community Center, was painted in a tourist theme by local artist Kim Linker. This prototype and two smaller bulldogs were displayed in the New Haven High School homecoming parade.

Art teacher Cara Keefe and her New Haven High School students painted one of the smaller prototypes in the school colors. Shannen Colter, an art teacher at Central Lutheran School, painted the other smaller bulldog with a military appreciation theme.

Colter, a graduate of Woodlan High School and IPFW, said she chose to put the various seals of the five branches of military over a camouflage background.

“The bulldog project is a great community-building idea and a wonderful way to raise interest. I’m planning to submit several sketches for businesses to consider for painting one of the large bulldogs,” she said.

Businesses will pay $2,500 for a large bulldog and $200 for a smaller one. According to Hatten, a committee will be chosen to approve proposed artwork. The goal is to have the bulldogs completed by June 2019, photographed and made into a calendar featuring each of the 12 large bulldogs on an individual month.

Hatten said an adoption party will be held at the Chamber’s annual dinner Nov. 8 at the Orchid Reception Hall. Business leaders will have the opportunity to look at sketches made by local artists and choose an artist to paint theirs. When completed, they’ll then be displayed at the New Haven Community Center so local residents can see them before they’re scattered around town.

Each statue will have a plaque with the name of the business and the artist’s name.

“The bulldog project is primarily being conducted to showcase local talent, elicit awareness of the contributions made to the city by the New Haven Community Foundation and recognize area sponsors. Money raised from the sale of the bulldogs will go toward various projects in town including purchasing new decorations for the city which will light Broadway and Canal Park this holiday season,” Hatten said.

The Foundation expects to bring in between $5,000 and $10,000 (after expenses) which will be distributed to local organizations. One project that is near completion is the purchase and installation of new holiday lighting as a result of many calls to city council members about the condition of the lights following the 2017 holiday season.

In response, the Foundation is helping fund the purchase of fifty large new snowflakes and stars to be placed on light poles on Broadway from Powers Street south to the railroad tracks. A lighted arch will be erected over Broadway at Main Street and a 45-foot-long lighted reindeer with movable legs will be placed in Canal Park. All the new lights will be turned on at the same time at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

New Haven Community Foundation is building a self-sustaining equity fund with a goal of having $40,000 available from which to distribute grants to local organization. Money is raised through activities like its annual golf outing and Groundhog Day fundraising dinner. This year the organization gave funds to help the New Haven Baseball Association get back on its feet after being robbed and grants were awarded to Junior Achievement, Allen County Education Partnership, Cornerstone Youth Council, East Allen Family Resource Center, Literacy Alliance and Biblical Life Recovery Center.

It was also instrumental in funding the band shell in Schnelker Park last year along with grants to New Haven Food Bank, New Haven Adams Township Parks & Recreation Department, New Haven Middle School, Powerhouse Youth Center, New Haven Sesquicentennial Committee, the $500 Bill & Todd Fritcha Memorial Scholarship, and the New Haven Police Department to purchase a new police dog.