Project Bulldog gets the last bark and — matched by the sound of a gavel — earned more than $100,000 for the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Art Department at an auction of the highly decorated fiberglass pooches.

The year-long endeavor was the brainchild of Hewlett High alumni and longtime local resident Ira Friedman, who was inspired by similar projects in major cities involving artistically enhanced cows, pigs or buffalo. Friedman chose the bulldog because it’s the Hewlett-Woodmere High School mascot and small enough to fit indoors. (The 37 bulldogs were displayed in stores and public buildings throughout the district.)

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At the start, Friedman said he expected to raise a few hundred dollars for the art department, which, in a time of reduced school budgets, could use the support. The life-size dogs created by alumni, students and community artists included fashion icon Donna Karan’s “DKNY” dog, which fetched $5,000 in the auction, held at Hewlett Harbor’s Seawane Country Club on June 17.

Karan’s a Hewlett-Woodmere alum, along with artist Ross Bleckner, whose “Georgie Dog” earned top-dog honors with a $14,000 winning bid. Jessica Bayer, who chairs the district’s art department, earned $6,500 for her own cause with “A Touch of Glass.”

Each of the dogs sold for at least three figures.

“There was a real sense of community about the whole project, so many of us coming together, that it eclipsed even the money,” Freidman said.

K-9 the robot dog sits in the window of the Five Towns Community Chest in Woodmere. It  was painted by student Kate Browse with woodwork by cabinet-maker Michael Schwartz of Hewlett as part of PROJECT BULLDOG, a community-wide celebration of the arts, supporting the Hewlett-Woodmere public schools' art department.  (April 3, 2010)