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Stamford Goes to the Dogs (and Cats)

First cows, then cars, now canines! The tradition of turning city streets into alfresco art galleries continues this year with the Stamford Downtown Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit "It's Reigning Cats & Dogs." Each of the 40 fiberglass animals placed throughout downtown Stamford and at the Stamford Town Center was designed and hand-painted by a local artist

The creations range from Trace Burroughs' "Pup Art," covered with Warhol-style Campbell's soup cans to Adele Moros' "Princess Tiffany," a cat with a pattern resembling a Tiffany stained-glass window.

"This is a wonderful thing," said Mayor Michael A. Pavia at Wednesday Evening's Opening Night Celebration, held at the Stamford Marriott Hotel. "Commitment to the arts is truly a part of Stamford culture."

"Stamford is really known for its outdoor art," agreed Miggs Burroughs, a Westport-based artist who came to support his brother, Trace (of the aforementioned "Pup Art"). "There's nothing like this in any of the surrounding towns. It's a great opportunity for artists."

The Art in Public Places program is also a great way for aspiring artists to get a foot in the door. David Macharelli, creator of Egyptian-influenced "The Cat's Amphora," considers himself an "I.T. guy" who does art on the side. "My friend told me about this, said I should come up with an idea and apply," David said. "I was really happy when I was accepted!" David shouldn't have been surprised, as cats and dogs are familiar turf for the Waterbury resident. "I have a business called The Aesthetic Pet," he said. "People commission me to paint portraits of their animals. But I've never done anything this big before!"

James Scinto of Fairfield, meanwhile, had to scale down in size for his two entries ("Digital Dog" and "Shampooch"). James custom-paints cars and motorcycles with almost any design imaginable (flames and skulls are popular requests).

"I'm a veteran," said James of Art in Public Places. His piece in 2001's "Art-O-Mobiles" was titled "Hit and Run" and was sponsored by Cushman and Wakefield.

This year's sponsors include Seaboard Properties, SAC Capital Advisors, UBS, Shipman and Goodwin LLP and many more. Sculptures will be auctioned off following the exhibit, which ends in August, with a portion of the proceeds going to Friends of Felines and the Stamford Dog Park. For a map of the sculptures, go to Stamford Dowtown's website.

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