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Arf for Art's Sake

By Michael Summers


Fort Wayne Reader


Larry Wardlaw has been Master of Ceremonies for countless events over the years. He’s M.C.’d the Junior Achievement annual meeting, functions for IPFW, several mayoral events… name an awards ceremony or recognition banquet held in the Grand Wayne Center and Wardlaw says he’s probably done a stint behind the podium as M.C. at one time or another.

But on Saturday, April 28, at Cinema Center downtown, Wardlaw will M.C. a fundraiser unlike any he’s done before. “This could take my career to a whole new level. Or it might be the end,” he laughs.

The event is the Doggie Fashion Show, a fundraiser for Artlink. 17 dogs (and their humans) will take to the… well, catwalk… to parade the latest in dog fashions. parading the latest in dog fashions. Wardlaw says that he doesn’t think of himself as a dog person, but the event caught his attention and sounded fun. “I thought, ‘now that’s something that I haven’t been to before.’”

“We’ll have a full range from fancy dress to sporty,” says Kathy Todoran, the event’s organizer. Part of her duties include finding outfits for the dogs. The clothes come from Bow Wow Designs Boutique and Bakery (www.bow-wowdesigns.com), a Fort Wayne store located at 340 East Dupont specializing in dog clothes, toys, treats and accessories. Todoran works with Adrienne Rohr, the store’s owner, to match the dog with the look. “We have to get dimensions on the dogs to find outfits that might suit them,” Todoran says. “(Rohr) has been wonderful. I provide the digs dimensions, and she shoots back three or four photos of possible outfits.”

And how hard is it to fit a dog? “Some of our large dogs, it gets… challenging,” Todoran says.

Rohr concurs. And she would know. She’s run Bow Wow Designs for two years, first as an online store and then opening the boutique on East Dupont in April 2006. Dogs are allowed in the store, and Bow Wow Designs also offers fresh-baked, all natural doggie treats. When tailoring dog clothes for a dog, Rohr says they need neck size, length of the back, the girth, the widest part of the belly. Weight is helpful, too. “It’s easier to find dog clothes for dogs that are tiny, like Poodles and Chihuahuas. Well, in this show, we have Newfoundlands, we have Labs… There’s a lot of big dogs, so it’s going to be really fun.”

It’s not just the dog’s who are going to be suited up. “We’re trying to reflect the personality of our dog owners as well,” says Kathy Todoran. “We’re asking our humans to sort of dress in keeping with what our dogs are wearing.” The dog owners include Fort Wayne artists, media personalities, educators and politicians such as artist Terry Ratliff, Phillip Colegalzer of the Civic Theater, FWR’s own Gloria Diaz, and Cinema Center’s Catherine Lee. “He’s a big dog, a mutt, and he’s got a big square head,” Lee says of her dog, James, who turned up in Lee’s yard last December. She says she’s not sure how they’re going to dress James yet. “I think they’re looking at skateboarder/biker kinda thing,” she says. “Actually, he’s kind of more elegant than that. So I’m hoping they’re going to go with coat-and-tails, something like that.”

All proceeds for the show will go to Artlink. There’s a reception immediately following the show with treats for the two-legged guests served by Celebrations Bakery and Café, and treats for the models supplied by Bow Wow Designs.

Artlink Doggie Fashion Show Fundraiser

Saturday, April 28, 2007, 2-4 p.m.
Runway show in Cinema Center at 2:00
Reception in Artlink approximately 2:30

Artlink, Inc., 437 E. Berry Street, (260) 424-7195

TICKETS: Adults - $25; Children 12 and under - $10 (children 6 and under are free); $60 – Family Four pass

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