North Texas artist celebrates spirit of giving with ‘Playful Puppy’ sculpture in Keller

·3 min read

Brad Oldham’s formative years of growing up were spent in Keller. Though he lives in Dallas now, he said Keller will always be home.

Now, he’s adding some new artwork to his home with a permanent sculpture named “Playful Puppy.” Oldham’s original puppy design fulfills the Keller Arts Board’s vision of installing an animal-themed piece that would not only enhance the aesthetics of the public space, but also call attention to the animal services and adoptions administered by the Humane Society of North Texas inside the facility.

“Our family moved to Keller when I was in middle school, and I graduated from Keller High School in 1984. These were very important years in my life,” Oldham recalled. “I love seeing how the city has changed over the years and am so excited to have this sculpture in what I consider my hometown.”

The sculpture stands 6 and a half feet tall, 8 and a half feet long, and 4 and a half feet wide. It is made of 316 mirror-polished stainless steel. The construction of the plaza in which it will stand has been years in the making. The sculpture will sit on the northeast lawn of the Regional Animal Services/Public Safety facility located at 330 Rufe Snow Drive.

The plaza and artwork are both paid for by the city’s Public Arts Development Fee, a funding mechanism for public art implemented in 2015 by the Keller City Council.

“On behalf of myself and the Keller Arts Board, we are thrilled that our six-year search is finally coming to an end with the awesome Brad Oldham sculpture ’Playful Puppy’ becoming the 15th piece in our permanent collection,” said Brenda Wyatt, Chair of Keller Public Arts. “We have been looking for the perfect piece to celebrate our wonderful Regional Animal Adoption Center since 2015.

“We were thrilled when Brad Oldham created exactly what we had been searching for. To learn that Brad had lived in Keller and attended Keller High was icing on the cake.”

Fellow artist Christy Coltrin, Oldham’s partner in designing the sculpture, said the artwork was originally made in a four-sculpture installation for a private commission in 2015 with a narrative about the importance of giving.

“The playful puppy stayed with us and has come to represent the joy in giving,” Coltrin said. “The sculpture’s location near the Animal Services is such a great home for Playful Puppy. We hope it helps people celebrate the important day when a four-legged family member finds a loving, forever home.”

Traveling Man and other Oldham works

Some of Oldham’s most notable works include:

”Running with the Moon” in San Antonio.

”Crescent Pointe” in Charleston, South Carolina.

”Twist” in downtown Dallas.

”SkyLINK” in front of the Greensboro Children’s Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

”Whimsy & Wise” in front of the Mitchel Park Library in Palo Alto, California.

And, of course, locals are familiar with his famous “The Traveling Man” series, a three-site installation near downtown Dallas in Deep Ellum, created in August 2009. At 41 feet tall and made of steel and stainless steel, the tallest sculpture takes a step, with his hand extended in a welcome and a smile about his face.

The Traveling Man plays his banjo on another corner as he waits on the train, and further into the neighborhood he is seen emerging from the ground.

“The Traveling Man was born of this eclectic, urban neighborhood with a strong history in the arts, music, and entrepreneurialism,” Oldham said. “This installation has won numerous awards but none so heartwarming as the many personal stories and photos that we have seen and heard that take place with The Traveling Man.”

Oldham is hoping that same kind of joy can come from “Playful Puppy.”

“I cannot wait to see all the photos that are shared with this sculpture and the stories of the moments that happen around this delightful dog,” he said.