As part of its mission to honor first responders, the Foundation works to place colorful, 6-foot-tall, metal Dalmatian puppy sculptures, named “R. Hero,” across the country at fire stations, museums, children’s hospitals and parks. These sculptures serve as a conversation starter for children and their parents, caregivers and teachers about the traits of a hero – courage, respect, honor and compassion for others.
There are currently 26 unique “R. Hero” sculptures across 14 states, with an international placement in El Salvador. Each sculpture placement is accompanied by a dedication event, honoring local heroes and giving community members, adults and youth alike, the opportunity to interact with the first responders in their area.
Karen & Tony Barone, the artists who created the “R. Hero” artwork and sculptures, work side by side in the execution of their large-scale sculpture and paintings featuring bright colors and whimsical designs.
The couple creates works of art that challenge the sense of scale and spatial reality. Their art visually reminisces of an Alice in Wonderland experience. They believe art can and should be a powerful force for good and human enrichment.
Karen & Tony Barone were Voted Artist of the Year in 2000 by the Artist Council of Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They have seven major painted steel works installed in Kingsport, TN and two Larger-than-life sculptures, a 7’-3” Pink Poodle and an 8’-6” Blue Point Siamese at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Karen & Tony’s work spans the globe as they have two paintings in the corporate Wuppertal Museum collection in Germany as well as ceramics in the National Museum of Ceramics in Deruta, Italy. In addition, they have numerous works in corporate collections.
They met and began their career in Chicago and have lived in New York City and Venice Beach. They currently reside in Rancho Mirage, CA.