This dog doesn’t bite; he doesn’t even bark. So, it’s safe for young and old alike to come and pet this puppy on the lawn outside Christ Child Hall on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. It’s Snoopy, a five-foot sculpture decorated by artist Mary Schill.
St. Thomas’ Snoopy has the theme of “Memories.” It features a collage of photos tracing UST’s history chronologically, starting at the sculpture’s base.
Schill said the idea for memories came from a connection she made between UST and Charles Schulz, the creator of Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang: They both have created memories for people. They have created things that will continue.
“Charles Schulz was a big hero of mine,” Schill said. “I jumped at this chance to pay tribute to him. I learned from him that you gotta love what you do otherwise it’s not worth doing.
“As a kid, I had a hard time fitting in, just like Charlie Brown,” continued Schill, assistant designer-director at McGraw Hill and owner of Forte Design. “But I learned from Charlie to keep trying. As an adult, I became like Snoopy — I’m a big kid. I like art and stock car racing. I have more toys than any adult I know. I collect Matchbox cars, Godzilla monsters and any new toy that comes along. Now I’m more like Linus — I never want to grow up.”
Schill has created one other Snoopy, which is featured at the Ford Motor Plant on Ford Parkway in St. Paul.
The Snoopy sculptures around St. Paul pay tribute to illustrator Schulz, who grew up above what is now O’Gara’s Bar and Grill on the corner of Selby and Snelling avenues, where his father operated a barber shop. Sparky, as he was known, stayed in St. Paul and began his career as an artist here before he left for World War II.
St. Thomas’ sculpture is sponsored by the All College Council, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Student Life and University Relations. St. Thomas has agreed to let its sculpture be auctioned along with many other Snoopys in October.
Proceeds from the auction of the Snoopy sculptures will support the following programs:
- A scholarship fund for young cartoonists and illustrators at Schulz’s alma mater, the Art Instruction School.
- A Charles M. Schulz Endowed Chair of Illustration at the College of Visual Arts.
- A permanent bronze sculpture of the whole Peanuts gang.
For more information, visit the Peanuts on Parade web site.