Motorists and pedestrians on El Paseo can now see a fun, new attraction in the median along one section of the famous thoroughfare – a giant purple aluminum dog.
“R. HERO,” a 6-foot, 2-inch-tall sculpture of a Dalmatian puppy was installed on May 23 in the El Paseo median west of Highway 74 in front of the Historical Society of Palm Desert. The sculpture is iridescent purple with signature black Dalmatian spots. Its name, “R. HERO,” is visible on a shiny silver dog collar.
The artwork was created by Coachella Valley artists Karen and Tony Barone to honor firefighters and donated to the City of Palm Desert. The City’s Art in Public Places Commission chose the location across from The Historical Society as the most appropriate site because the Historical Society occupies a building that served as the City’s original fire station – Fire Station #1.
The artists have said that the sculpture serves as a reminder of the heroism of firefighters, who save and rescue humans and animals, and of the powerful, beneficial relationships between animals and people.
It was donated to the City through the Barones’ “ArtAdoption” program, in which sponsors gift one of the artists’ works to a city or non-profit organization.