HORSES HONOR POLICE
Life-size statues to line Michigan Avenue next month as fundraiser
By Michelle Manchir Tribune reporter Chicago Tribune 8.6.14
Is that a horse stable outside of Starbucks? Magnificent Mile visitors could be asking that question next month as installation of at least 50 life-size horse statues begins along Michigan Avenue.
The public art project featuring 50 6-foot-tall, 6-foot-long horse statues made of weatherproof fiberglass will serve as a fundraiser for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which assists families of fallen or severely injured officers.
JESSICA TEZAK/TRIBUNE PHOTO Supporter Ron Vasser salutes at a Chicago Police Memorial Foundation news briefing Tuesday.
Each statue will be decorated by local artists and will carry with it a minimum donation of $2,500 to the foundation. All but one of the horses will also be named after officers who have died in the line of duty, said project organizers, who held a news conference Tuesday at the Chicago Police Department headquarters. One horse, showcased at the conference, will be named Sacrifice and display the names of six officers who suffered catastrophic injuries, said former police Superintendent Phil Cline, who now serves as director of the foundation.
“The horses do represent our commitment to the living and dead officers and to their families,” said Art Hannus, president of the foundation. “The families are the ones today who live with the greatest burden, and we want to do everything we can to lighten that burden.”
The public display is scheduled to begin Sept. 11 and last until mid-November, with the possibility of the horses moving from Michigan Avenue to other well-traveled spots like Navy Pier and the Merchandise Mart, said Billy Bracken, a partner at Agency 360, a consulting group helping organize the project. One of the reasons the horse was selected is because of the animal’s strength and power, Bracken said.
Denise Domagala said those are the words she thinks of when she considers how the foundation helped her family. Domagala’s husband, Bernard Domagala, was shot in the head at age 37 in 1988 while responding to a man who had barricaded himself in his home, Cline said. He survived but suffered traumatic brain injury and today lives in an assisted-living community, Cline said.
Domagala said the foundation has been crucial in helping support the couple’s three sons, who were all age 4 or younger when the shooting happened.
“To know that all the police officers are together and they’re really working with us through this journey is an incredible feeling for our family,” she said.
The horses will probably be sturdy enough for children to climb on, but it’s not encouraged, Bracken said. Each horse will be drilled into the ground on concrete bases, Bracken said, to deter anyone hoping to sneak one away. They will be auctioned off in December, though, for anyone who really wants to bring one home. “They’re a good size, so they’d have to have a big great room,” Bracken firstname.lastname@example.org