Mutts on Main

The Marx family was one of eight artist teams to contribute to this year’s public-art project, Mutts on Main.

Several dogs have been spotted inside of businesses in Waunakee this week. They have attracted the attention of area residents, their children and many who work for the municipality.

“They’re all over the place,” said executive assistant for the Village of Waunakee Kylie West. “There’s one in Summit, one at the Pig, one at the Meadows, and two of them at the new library. There’s even one at the Village Center, and the Senior Center.”

Residents should not be alarmed, though. The dogs couldn’t give chase if they wanted to.

“They’re steel cutouts,” West explained. “It’s the fifth annual Public Art Project. The first year was goats. Then there were barns, and then trains. Last year was wine and whiskey barrels. But this year, it’s Mutts on Main.”

The cutouts were made by Endres Manufacturing Company, a steel manufacturer in Waunakee, and given to local artists who were tasked with transforming them into pieces of public art.

A month later, the finished products stood on the patio of Waunakee’s Chamber of Commerce for an unveiling last week.

“They turned out fantastic,” West said. “The artists all had really good ideas that were based upon the Waunakee area that fit in really nice. It was just a really good variety of artists with really good ideas.”

More than a dozen artists were involved in this year’s project, split into eight teams.

One of those teams was made up of Sophie Wagner-Marx, her husband and their three children. Together, they created a glass mosaic out of the German Shepherd cutout they had selected.

“We used glass mosaics to create six special portraits,” explained Violet Marx. “On one side are three rescue dogs…On the other side is our uncle’s hunting dog, our uncle’s farm dog and our aunt’s golden retriever. All of the dogs we portrayed are important to us and the people we love.”

They have named the piece ‘Furry Friends,’ and describe it as a tribute to all canine companions.

“It represents the relationships people have with dogs,” said Ruby Marx. “We thought a lot about the dogs we know and have known, why dogs are important to people, and what it means to rescue a dog and make it part of your family.”

The children encouraged prospective dog owners to visit a shelter before browsing the selection of breeders, and consider those that are already in need of a home.

“Taking in a dog can change both your life and the life of the dog you take in,” said Simon Marx. “Sometimes I wonder whether the human rescues the dog, or if the dog rescues the human.”

The piece has been scheduled for auction at this year’s Wauktoberfest, Sept. 12-15. at Endres Manufacturing, along with the others. Proceeds from the sales will go to the Endres Manufacturing Foundation and the village’s Creative Economy Initiative budget.

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