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5 things to know about the Palm Desert rabbit sculptures

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Remember those large colorful rabbit sculptures that appeared in Rancho Mirage last year? They’re back, but this time in Palm Desert.

Local pop artist couple Karen and Tony Barone have unveiled their latest art installation “DESERT WARREN 2.”

On Wednesday, the couple dedicated the new installation at Highway 111 and Town Center Way to the city of Palm Desert. “DESERT WARREN 2” features nine 8-foot aluminum rabbit sculptures. The art will be on display at this location for one year and is similar to the ones featured in Rancho Mirage.

Attendees at the dedication included Palm Desert Pro Term Mayor Kathleen Kelly and former Palm Desert Mayor Susan Marie Weber. 

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Who are the artists?

Karen and Tony Barone are both from Chicago. While there, they got married and established their careers, according to their website. Since leaving Chicago, they have worked in New York, Tennessee, Los Angeles and now the Coachella Valley.

Throughout their careers they have had success as artists and have opened a store and several restaurants. The couple specializes in creating “larger than life” art of regular sized objects inspired by Alice in Wonderland, according to their website. They have also developed a limited edition color illustrated book, a single actor play and animated images on the Internet.

What is it?

The ensemble for the city represents Karen and Tiny Barone’s mantra of reaching out to “one and all” through their art in public places, they said. The couple says they love making art that speaks to all ages and brings smiles to faces and doesn’t require an art history background.

The sculptures are painted in vibrant uplifting colors and many have polka-dots. The polka-dots are a new characteristic that the Rancho Mirage sculptures didn’t have. Each rabbit takes the artists four to six months to create.

What do the rabbits signify?

The rabbits are a tribute to the couple’s first kiss in Chicago. After their kiss, a rabbit appeared. “The rabbit was out of place and took us by surprise,” Tony said. “Since then we’ve been all about rabbits.”

What happened to the Rancho Mirage rabbits?

The Rancho Mirage rabbits were purchased by sponsors and relocated to different spaces around the valley.

What’s next for the rabbits?

The rabbits in Palm Desert are currently don’t have donors to sponsor them. Donors can choose which sculpture they wish to sponsor and will be able to name their rabbit. After a year is over, the rabbits can be relocated to the donor’s place of choice. 

On Jan. 21, with the help of Desert Regional Chairman Mitch Blumberg, a special rabbit will be dedicated to the Desert Regional Comprehensive Cancer Center. The sculpture will feature a purple body for cancer recovery and pink polka-dots for breast cancer recovery. 

If you go: The sculptures are located on the property along Highway 111 and Town Center Way.

For more information you can visit the artists website: baroneart.com/

Read or Share this story: https://www.desertsun.com/story/life/entertainment/arts/2020/01/09/5-things-know-palm-desert-rabbit-sculptures/2846457001/



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