Coronavirus has changed things for a lot of us but we think it’s important to maintain our creative energies, if only because we promised this post in our recent newsletter…and we like to keep our word. If you receive our newsletter, you know that we included a drawing activity and promised a drawing of Charity. Here you go (and remember, we never said we were “artists”)!
What happens when a dog gets to be 162 years old (1,134 in human years) and his paws start to break down? At Federated Charities, it means calling in a restoration company so that we can repair/restore his foundation. However, before we send him to the veterinary hospital in June, we feel like we need to clarify a couple of things so we’re going to see how well you think you know us:
True or False: Charity is made out of iron
FALSE – For realz. We’ve been innocently promoting this fake news for several years but the restoration company tells us that he’s actually made out of a combination of zinc and pewter. Other fake news? We were pretty sure he was cast by a Baltimore company but, according to an auction catalogue from 1858, he was actually cast by Janes, Beebe & Co. in New York…who knew?
Choose the Correct Answer(s): a) Charity has had his head stolen; b) Charity has had his tail broken off; c) Charity has had a tattoo inked in his honor; d) Charity is a Labrador Retriever
Answer – a, b and c. Charity had his head vandalized in the 1960’s, and it was found in Baker Park by a student on her way to school. His tail has been vandalized on several occasions and in the late 1980’s was replaced entirely with a downward-oriented tail in order to stabilize it. And yes, Charity was permanently inked on the arm of a young woman in the summer of 2019 after she interned with the Downtown Frederick Partnership. Charity is not a Labrador however, he is actually modeled as a Chesapeake Bay Retriever or Newfoundland breed. But take a look at this picture…we think it’s totally possible he’s a drooly Tibetan Mastiff.
True or False: Charity was installed on the front porch of the Federated Charities building because the family who owned the home in 1858 really liked dogs.
We don’t know the answer to this one for sure, although some documents indicate that the dog was a rendering of a beloved pet and there are several pictures in our archives of (human) family members with a wide variety of pets (no large black dogs though). It’s very possible that the family put it there because, at that time period, decorative exterior pieces were a sign of status and wealth. According to the Smithsonian, ” Zinc sculptures are important because they reflect cultural history during the 19th century throughout the United States, especially in smaller towns. While urban centers had sources of revenue enabling erection of expensive bronze monuments, small communities throughout the country could afford zinc statues purchased from trade catalogues and shipped by railroad.” The picture in the catalogue totally looks like our statue so it may have been mass produced. Anecdotally, our records indicate that the statue originally cost $45 and caused a bit of a stir because of its cost.
If you are from Frederick, you are undoubtedly one of the people who pets him, or maybe you’re the person who has had to pull your real dog away because it’s confused, but it’s also possible that you remember the first time you saw our dog and had your picture taken with him. Whatever your memory, Charity is a part of the day to day fabric of the life of downtown Frederick and, more importantly, he is a symbol of the work of Federated Charities and our 16 nonprofit partners who share this building and whose work impacts all of us every day.
Our veterinary bill in 2020 will cost considerably more than $45 and we will be removing the statue in mid-June for further analysis and in order to re-cast the feet. During that process, we will also make sure the rest of the sculpture is stable and we will strip and re-paint it so when Charity returns, it will be as if he were brand new. His “operation” will cost our organization more than $12,000 and we have to be able to raise that before we begin the restoration…you can help by making a tax-deductible contribution to our organization, which will be matched dollar for dollar. Thank you for helping us with his restoration, we hope you’re as fond of him as we are.
We were due for an upgrade. and so at the beginning of this year we signed up for the Frederick Garden Tour and forced ourselves to re-think our rear garden.
Over the years the rear garden at Federated Charities building has been planted, bricked, and excavated and mined for archaeological treasures. In the mid-1970s one of the building caretakers planted a grouping of heirloom roses in the space and even during our major renovation in 2000, those roses have remained in place. Lovely as they are, they did not lend themselves to anything other than admiration (because they look and smell lovely).
At the beginning of this year, our current board of directors committed resources to a sweat-equity garden renovation that would makeover the space so our tenant-partners could better enjoy it and we could start to rent it out for small events in the community. Our business model is based on the premise of the more money we can raise, the more we can give back to our nonprofit tenants for their own mission-based services.
In April, a small crew of intrepid volunteers moved 8 rosebushes to other parts of the front and rear garden and dug out a square courtyard to lay sod. Generous people in the community donated vintage metal outdoor furniture which we painted a festive aquamarine color and we planted a variety of traditional and colorful plants along the building walls and in pots that are clustered around the space.
Today our tenant-partners can use the space to gather, we can use it for events and we have one more spot in our historic building that draws people in to share our legacy. We would like to thank our Board of Directors, countless volunteers, Comprehensive Tree Care, Inc. and the generosity of the Frederick community for helping with our 2018 Garden Renovation project.
When local artist and business owner, Anthony Owens asks if he can install a mural in your building, the only real answer is “Yes.” Anthony and his crew of artisans have installed 15+ public murals all over Frederick and late last year we took him on a tour of the Federated Charities building and we became the lucky recipient of one of his pieces. We are scheduled to re-dedicate the Ramona Remsburg Wing and unveil the mural on Tuesday June 5th to kick off our week to celebrate The Art of the Dog.
People ask us all the time if we provide services for dogs because we have chosen to highlight our iconic dog image…and the answer is no…but the iconic dog image that graces our front portico is a symbol for us of the work that goes on behind our doors. Our 14 nonprofit tenant-partners benefit from our low and reduced cost space that allows them to put more of their own resources toward mission-based human services. The solid, iron dog statue on the front steps that has stood there for years is a part of that foundation of programming that we have offered in Frederick since 1911 so we embrace the image…and sometimes the confusion that goes along with it.
The mural, built and installed by Anthony Owens, Kathryn Hale, Tony “Ghost Dog” Woods and Stephen Parnes is made up of 3, 6×2 foot panels arranged as a triptych and is a combination of paint and mosaic tiles. In addition to our dog, it also features several recognizable Frederick elements, such as a Frederick key, the spires skyline and Baker Park. Mr. Owens has installed interior and exterior murals at a variety of locations, including the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick, Heartly House, The Boys and Girls Club. Each project brings together local artists to work on each piece as a collaborative effort.
The vision of Federated Charities is to create collaborative partnerships among agencies by sharing backbone infrastructure and so the creation of this public art piece fits right into our vision. Our public space inside the building is passed by countless people every day who need something from one of our nonprofit partners and we want to be able to offer them beautiful space. The German artist Gerhard Richter said, “Art is the highest form of hope,” and our partnerships in the community provide hope and services and opportunity to individuals and families every day.
The mural unveiling is open to the public but does require an RSVP. Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like to attend.
On Thursday June 7th, we will host our second annual event, The Art of the Dog at Federated Charities. Our board of directors will welcome you to our renovated rose garden and first floor of our lovely, historic building where you will enjoy beer, wine and soft drinks, eats and art (silent auction to benefit the programs and services of Federated Charities).
But wait, do we have anything to do with dogs? A little bit because we have owned one since 1858 where he has stood watch over our building and the community. As one of the most iconic fixtures in downtown Frederick, hundreds if not thousands of people walk past him every day but unless you’ve needed a lawyer or a wheelchair (or any other type of human service), you may not be aware of the work that we do. Since 1911 we have addressed critical needs in this community and since 1930, we have done it from our bricks and mortar building with the dog statue.
The Art of the Dog is just our way to celebrate that work. Local artists and makers and just generous people donate items for our silent auction and you get to enjoy our space for an evening. Tickets are available now.
Thank you to our Top Dog event sponsors, Frederick County Bank and First United Bank & Trust
On March 25, 1911, a group of people in Frederick had an idea to bring together all the charitable aid services in the community so their efforts could be focused, structured and more efficient and so, the idea of Federated Charities was born. For the next 107 years we have provided a safety net, not just for individuals in need, but for organizations who share the common idea that no citizen should be left behind in our community. From early public health and services for children and families to our collaborative nonprofit center of today, Federated Charities has been a part of the landscape of Frederick and we have been proud of our efforts and those of our tenant partners (if you would like a copy of our 2017 annual report, please contact us). Please join us to celebrate the past 107 years and our next century of services, programs and opportunities.