The Trojan Dog returns to station #7
He’s back … or is it a she? The Trojan Dog statue that stood outside Firehouse #7 on Memorial Avenue in Grandin Village has returned, this time as a stronger and more permanent version. The original Trojan Dog, designed by local artist Ann Glover, was made of plywood and was part of Roanoke City’s public art A.I.R. (Art in Roanoke) program. During that program, spearheaded by Roanoke’s public art coordinator, Susan Jennings, local artists and others from outside the area descended on the valley to install temporary outdoor works of art.
Roanoke City helped purchase the Trojan Dog – which might remind some of the Trojan Rabbit, as seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Jennings said the city also purchased “In Flux,” a more avante garde work featuring metal tubes that was installed at Vic Thomas Park in Wasena. “Everybody though [Trojan Dog] just fit the site perfectly, the same with In Flux,” noted Jennings. Two artists from New York and Connecticut created that piece. They returned recently to put some finishing touches to In Flux, in the hopes of making it more permanent.
The idea was to stimulate the populace and get them excited about art in many mediums and forms. Trojan Dog proved so popular that the Raleigh Court Civic League mounted a fundraising campaign, coming up with a $5000 grant from Roanoke City’s neighborhood services department to help fund the permanent $10,000 installation. “The city and the Civic League decided they wanted a permanent installation of that piece,” said Glover as she watched the newest Trojan Dog being hoisted from the back of a trailer.
4DD Design in Roanoke, which has designed similar sculptures (using foam, steel and other materials) for museums and cities around the country, took Glover’s original design, turning it in to the larger, sturdier form of Trojan Dog. After the piece took a ride in the Grandin Village Christmas parade last weekend Glover and 4DD employees took it down to station #7, where fire and rescue workers helped set it up on a concrete platform facing Memorial Avenue.
Jennings also watched the 4DD people as Trojan Dog came together in about eight weeks: “it was fascinating. I had no idea about the scope of the work they do there. It was a fascinating process to watch.” Big pieces of hardened foam attached to a steel frame and then bonded together in a spray booth brought Trojan Dog back to life.
Glover said Trojan Dog was made out of “60 year materials…by an amazing group of guys.” She went back in after the fabrication process to paint the statue. “They replicated my piece exactly,” said Glover, adding that “never in a million years,” did she think Trojan Dog would live on. “Its thrilling, incredible.” Trojan Dog 2.0 was fabricated without the head being permanently set in place, so that it could be set at just the right angle for drivers passing by. A glue gun and some rope to keep the head in place until the bond is made secure was the final step. Glover helped set the right angle for the head.
“It’s been incredible to work with a whole team of people,” said Glover, more used to creating paintings and other works of art in the privacy of a studio perhaps. 4DD president Clint Hatcher said his 3-D firm has fabricated pieces like Trojan Dog “many times…[often] for dozens of museums.” Hatcher, who made the final tweaks with his crew at station #7, said, “it was nice to do something local,” for a change.
By Gene Marrano