The Scottie

In honor of bernadette Blum

Ms. Bernadette Blum was a beloved early childhood teacher extraordinaire who taught preschoolers in DC for almost 40 years. One of her signature field trips was to the FDR Memorial. She used the statue of FDR in his wheelchair to teach the kids about people with physical disabilities.

But she also used the statue of FDR’s beloved Scottie dog, Fala, to teach the kids about scale. She said she loved Fala because he was an approachable subject (True fact: all kids adore statues of animals!) and because he was built on a preschooler’s scale. Most of the kids were indeed nose to nose with him.

In preparation for the field trip, the kids would make their own Fala pictures and also use their shoes to measure out “how many shoes high” they were on a strip of paper. Then they would take that strip of paper to the FDR Memorial and compare it against Fala to see which one of them was taller. It was always a hit!

So Fala loomed large in the River Park Nursery School classroom. When we lost Ms. Blum to cancer in 2015, a group of Hill residents quickly decided that the best way to honor her was to bring our very own Fala-inspired statue to the Hill. It is our hope that he will bring as much joy to kids in the neighborhood as his Fala cousin does down in the Tidal Basin.

The Scottie Statue, at the Virginia Ave Dog Park, DC's largest public dog park.

About the Artist:

Will Fleishell is a traditionalist painter, sculptor, picture engraver, and printmaker. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and art and anatomy at George Washington University.

Will worked for the US Bureau of Engraving for over 30 years, working through a ten-year apprenticeship (longest apprenticeship in North America) and progressing to Senior Picture Engraver. He created countless tiny works of art for paper currency, postage stamps, and other official US materials. One of his more high profile projects was the portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill.

Will is a locally beloved art educator, teaching numerous adult classes in drawing and painting at CHAW, the Hill Center, and Waterfront Village.

Will is a seventh-generation Capitol Hill/Navy Yard resident with boundless knowledge of neighborhood history. His works of art can be found across the city and especially on Capitol Hill. He still lives in the neighborhood and keeps a studio in Eastern Market.

The Scottie was forged at New Arts Foundry in Baltimore, the same place that cast the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street.

The face of the Scottie Statue, at the Virginia Ave Dog Park, DC's largest public dog park.

The Scottie Statue is part of the identity of the park and was iconic inspiration for our community contest to design our VADP logo in 2021.

The Scottie Statue, at the Virginia Ave Dog Park, DC's largest public dog park.