Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SATURDAY: Sketch a Dog Hero

This event was planned by Elaine Langer


The glowing bronze of this statue on a rock outcropping near the East Drive at 67th Street reflects the loving pats of countless children and adults who recall the story of a heroic dog. In January 1925, the city of Nome, Alaska experienced an outbreak of diphtheria. At that time, Nome had a population of 1,429 people and there was only enough antitoxin serum in distant Anchorage to treat about 300 people exposed to the disease. A train line did run over 325 miles from Anchorage to Nenana, the station closest to Nome, but Nome was icebound seven months out of the year. Alaska’s two open-cockpit planes were not safe in the frigid and windy weather.

A relay of mushers and their dog-sled teams was the only way to deliver the fur-wrapped twenty-pound package of serum to the ailing community 674 miles from Nenana. The route followed the old Iditarod Trail used by mail drivers from Anchorage to Nome (now the route of the dog-sled championships). The 20 teams of over 200 dogs covered the frozen terrain at about six miles per hour, in blizzard conditions with temperatures of 50 degrees below zero. An international audience listened over their radios and read in their newspapers of the race to Nome. The last musher, Gunnar Kasson, and his team lead by Balto, a black and white Alaskan malamute, raced over the frozen tundra in only five days and seven hours – a world record time. Within days after the arrival of the serum, the epidemic, which had claimed five lives, was over.

Balto and Gunnar Kaasen

Gunnar Kasson later described the incredible trip to reporters: "I couldn't see the trail. Many times I couldn't even see my dogs, so blinding was the gale. I gave Balto, my lead dog, his head and trusted him. He never once faltered. It was Balto who led the way. The credit is his." Balto survived the journey, and toured the United States with the rest of the dog team. On December 17, 1925, 10 months after his arrival in Nome, Balto was present as this bronze statue was unveiled in Central Park.

As we sketch the dog we'll likely see the statue visited by families.  The kids will do just what my brother and I did when we were kids. They'll get on Balto's back and pose for family pictures.


What:  We will sketch the animals, statues, statues of animals, kids and scenes of Central Park.

When:  Saturday, November 21st starting at 11 AM.  Sleeping late - Come anyway. (Drop me a personal line if you know for a fact that this comment in all the annoucements has be directed to you personally.)

Where:  The Statue is set on a rocky outcrop near a tunnel/overpass.  It's located west of East Drive and 67th Street and north of the Zoo.  (see map)

Lunch:  12:30 We'll walk to the Zoo Cafe to warm up and eat lunch.

Afternoon:  1:30 -  We'll stay in that area to sketch the archway outside of the zoo and some of the structures outside the zoo.  There is a lot right in the vicinity
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Show and Tell:  3:00 PM - There will be no Show and Tell this week.  You are invited instead to continue sketching (NUS - Not an Urban Sketching event) at the High School of Art and Design DRAW-A-THON 4 Fundraiser. 245 East 56th Street  USk has attended for a couple of years.  It's a good cause and the sketching three ring circus.  There is a $25 fee at the door.  Save $5 buying in advance.  The event ends at 7 PM.


   -  Bring a stool or chair if you have one.
   -  Dress warmly, the high is supposedly going to 52 degrees it should be mostly sunny

Click to Enlarge

If you can’t find us 
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees or attendance taken. All drawing skill levels are welcome.


  1. thank you for organizing these events...alto i have yet to join...i know it takes a lot of thought....we also ran across a mountain cat or panther statue in central park one day...perhaps one time when the weather is warmer...that might be another the reservoir/belevedere castle..

  2. Nice. Thanks for your kind words Ragaella. I hope we'll get to sketch with you in person some time soon. I'd be very curios to find the mountain cat statue you mentioned.

    If we'd only known we could have done a Dogs and Cats sketch day.

  3. This looks like a great sketch idea! Maybe it'll be revisited in the Spring?