The next best thing to being Instagram famous yourself is to have a dog that's Instagram famous. Now, Philadelphians have a chance to achieve that lofty goal by entering the #ArtPup photo contest from the Association for Public Art.
All an aspiring influencer has to do is take a photo of their dog with a work of Philadelphia public art and use the hashtag #ArtPup when posting to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, now through September 30th. The owner and pooch with the best photo have a chance to win a two-night staycation at the (dog-friendly) Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia in Old City, as well as other goodies you can share with your pup. The Association for Public Art will also feature winners on their Instagram (@assocpublicart) and on the big screens at Dilworth Park.
Runners-up have no need to growl. Other prizes include gift baskets from Doggie Style Pets, gift cards and glasses from Trend Eye Care, and a spa day for the winner and their pooch at Pretoria Salon + Spa (for the participant) and Doggie V.I.P. (for the pup).
"We're looking for originality, composition… cuteness is also welcome," said Caitlin Martin, media and communications manager for the Association for Public Art. She explained that the panel of judges will include "dog lovers and art people" to be sure to address all facets of the challenge. When asked what would make a photo stand out, she said, "It would be fun to see people exploring less familiar works such as 'Fingerspan,' which is on the Wissahickon Trail."
#ArtPup may be a chance to have fun with your dog, but it is still a photo competition, so when planning your entry it may help to consult an expert. "It looks really easy online, but once you actually are trying to get your dog to sit in one position or look at you it's one of those things that are like, 'Oh, wow, there's a lot that goes into this,'" said Lucy Colosimo of Washington Square West. She is the owner of Grover (@groverthecavalier), a doe-eyed spaniel puppy with more Instagram followers than many humans have– 1,896 to be exact.
Colosimo recommends that owners train their dogs to sit and stay before attempting a photo shoot, explaining that when Grover was little he'd think, "Where are you going? I'm coming with you!" if she tried to step back for a better angle. She also recommends that owners come prepared with treats, a good camera, a clean collar or bandana, and even props to add some creativity to photos (in one photo Grover poses with stuffed fruit). Colosimo and her husband alternate between a Nikon camera and an iPhone X, but advise that photographers use the best quality camera available to them, and be sure to find nice "afternoon light."
The backdrop is just as important as the canine model when it comes to entries for this photo contest. Colosimo said that she stays prepared with a camera and treats whenever she and Grover go for walks, just in case inspiration strikes. A good #ArtPup shot might require a little more preparation, however. Martin expressed hope that people who run past "Stone Age in America" on Kelly drive or picnic under "Playing Angels" will use their familiar surroundings as a backdrop for their photos. If you can't think of a work of public art near you, however, you can take advantage of the APA's interactive art map to scout for locations.
If owners are looking to meet their competition (or just make some dog loving friends) they can come to the pup meetup and party on September 6, which will kick off the competition. This "yappy hour" will have an open bar, but not for humans. This treat bar will cater to the canine crowd, although there will be refreshments for their humans as well. At the end of the competition there will be a dog walk and public art tour on September 29.