For Immediate Release

Rabbit Rabbit: The DESERT©WARREN
of Karen & Tony Barone

Karen and Tony Barone are synonymous with the arts in the Coachella Valley. They are larger than life in so many ways – in their command of any medium; in their larger than life sculpture; but mostly in their love for each other. Their partnership was created in love and thrives in their artistic meld.

The Barone’s have work installed all over the world. Their work can be found in Japan, Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Stockholm, Florida, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.  Locally one only needs to visit Palm Springs Animal Shelter to see Mademoiselle Coco and Monsieur Pompadour. The R. Hero works can be seen in Rancho Mirage and 33 other locations across the US. The Aqua Restaurant boasts several large Barone works. On any day Karen is her own work of art – eclectic and stylish, she breaks all the rules of fashion and creates an ethereal vision of art meets runway.

The latest Barone installation is located adjacent to the site of the former Chart House Restaurant. The Chart House Restaurant was built in 1978 and designed by architect Kendrick Kellogg. The building was an example of “organic modernism.”  To some the building gave the appearance of a giant sea creature washed up on some ancient shore. Today the spot is the home to a warren of rabbits inspired by another mythical creature.

DESERT©WARREN is comprised of 9 rabbits ranging in size from 8 ½ feet to 7 feet in height. They are bright, colorful creations that change in the daylight and glow in the evening thanks to the lighting provided by local solar company Hot Purple Energy.

The rabbits were inspired in part by the Barones’ research into the Irish spirit, Pooka.  According to legend, the Pooka may appear as horse, rabbit, goat, goblin, or dog. The Pooka is said to have the power of human speech, and has been known to give advice and lead people away from harm.

“While the rabbits are inspired by the Pooka, our rabbits are named Polka-Pookas, and are so much more,” said Karen. “To Tony and myself the rabbits are genderless, harmless creatures harboring no ill-will. They make people smile. And like us, rabbits are vegan, harming no other living creature for sustenance.”

“DESERT©WARREN is also an example of private sponsorship supporting public art. This project is with the blessing of the City of Rancho Mirage, the owners of the Atrium, the crew that assisted in the installation and the individuals and businesses that stepped up to sponsor a rabbit.  The Ritz-Carlton is sharing our DESERT©WARREN cards with their guests as well their Ritz car, when asked, to take guests to the site.”

“Several sponsors have given names to their rabbits. Dr. Wendy Robert’s sponsored rabbit is named Happy. It is a reflection of her love of art and beauty,” continued Karen. “Leo Milmet sponsored the purple 8 foot rabbit. Leo’s rabbit is named Little Rabbit, his grandmother’s childhood name for him. Wed Wabbit, yes the red one, is sponsored by Jim and Carol Egan.  Both are active in the art community. Jim is on the Board of the PS Art Museum.”

“DESERT©WARREN” will remain at the site until the end of May. After that the rabbits will be brought to their new homes, including one at the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.”

“There will be a celebration of “DESERT©WARREN” on January 20th from 1 – 2 pm. Tony and I will talk about the work. The celebration will include music and dance. This is a free event and all are welcome.”

Karen noted, “The rabbits have the ability to engage all people – regardless of age. The rabbits are metal creations but they, like our other animal pieces, have a heart that causes an emotional response. Most often that response is a smile.”

“We are encouraging people to interact with the rabbits. We hope that people will walk around the rabbits, take and post selfies with them – to participate with the art.”

“DESERT©WARREN” is meant to be a public event. The work breaks down the façade of  ‘art’ and is meant to speak to the viewer on an individual basis. The complexity of the work is built into its simplest of terms – pure enjoyment.”

Tony and Karen plan to continue to bring art into public spaces.  It is artists like the Barone’s that paved the way for events such as Desert X. The Barone’s works remain an inspiration for art in public spaces and serve as a good-will ambassador to the power of art.



Featured in Palm Springs Life Magazine – Social Scene

Judith Antonio, Claire Smith, Tony Barone, Karen Barone, Judith Rider and Barbara Klein
attend the Tools for Tomorrow annual luncheon. PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAT KRAUSE

Rachel Druten’s dream was to provide after-school hands-on experience and training in all forms of art for needy children. Since its inception, Tools for Tomorrow has serviced 7,000 children at 15 schools with arts literacy.

The Vision for the Future Award luncheon is produced by the Visionaries of Tools for Tomorrow, an auxiliary group founded by Claire Smith to help the charity raise funds.

The highlight of the luncheon honoring Linda Rider was the original show put on by the Tools for Tomorrow Theatre Troupe from Rancho Mirage Elementary School. Written and directed by Tools for Tomorrow teaching artist Gilmore Rizzo, it was great fun to see choreographer Joanne Moser conducting the students from the audience. Tools for Tomorrow volunteer Terri Childs gave the emotional appeal of the event, telling how arts education helps students gain confidence and impacts all areas of their lives.





February 11th, 2017
Palm Springs Convention Center


Karen & Tony Barone created unique “Modern©Man” award
sculptures for the 3 Honorees of the event.

“The Chase Gala is considered one of the top social events
of the Palm Springs,
season, attracting more than

1,500 fasionably-dressed patrons to fill the convention center.
Guests will enter on a red carpet flanked by an art installation featuring
the shiny sculptures of Karen and Tony Barone.”

yorkie“NEW YORKIE,” one of the several sculptures in the art installation being featured at the 2017 STEVE CHASE AWARDS





Proud to include Karen & Tony Barone’s  “R. HERO” sculpture news:



“On November 23rd, 2015, a ‘Polka-Pooka Punch Brunch & Studio tour’ was live auctioned at the Visionaries of Tools for Tomorrow’sSunday In The Park” event honoring Patty and Arthur Newman held at the legendary Pink Marrakesh Country Club. The winner of the auction donated $1,350 to Tools For Tomorrow for the treat of having brunch at the Barone Compound.”



Karen and Tony Barone, with Event Commissioner Valerie Schechter attend the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission latest exhibition opening, Portraits by Austrian Countess Ilona von Ronay. Event was chaired by Pamela Price. (Photography by Pat Krause)

Cathedral City Public Arts Commission




Supports elementary school writing, music, art and drama programs

John Antonio appears with artists Karen and Tony Barone in front of a Barone sculpture he won during a Visionaries event at Heather James Gallery. Donna MacMillian and Karen Barone stand left and right of philanthropist Harold Matzner holding the Vision of the Future Award/Sculpture created by Artists Karen and Tony Barone. Jenny Inch joins John Antonio





Rancho Mirage, CA couple Kevin Ruthven and Mark Tipton add curb appeal to their early 1960’s modernist home by including a vintage Karen & Tony Barone sculpture as the center piece of their desert landscape retrofit. “We’re using art to fight the drought” says Tipton.

The 6’ 3” tall sculpture of a polo player, titled “Polo Loco” was created by the Barone’s in 2008 long before the drought. It is part of a series of life-size athletes they created in their new millennium anamorphic style. The viewer is entertained by alternating views of the subject from being total abstract to an exact 2-D realist silhouette. Ruthven claims “the Japanese bronze patina created by the Barone’s is timeless and complimentary to our desert setting.”


Barone Polo Loco




Photo of Karen Barone by photographer Peter Palladino (©MMXV)




Firefighters in “R. HERO” shirts and caps assemble around the big Karen and Tony Barone
“R. HERO” sculpture (#27) with Bunni Benaron of the Hero In You Foundation
at the downtown Milwaukee, WI Fire Station.

R Hero Milwaukee



Moments before entry to the Barone compound, photographer James SchnepF, whose eye of the storm sensibility never lets a photo-op pass him by, magically captured this image. Just another example of the skills he possesses that are covered in spades in his book “Palm Springs Modern Living” – a not to be missed treasure trove of images.

James Schenpf Photo

 Great Britain “ASCENT” Magazine features photographs by
photographer James Schnepf from his book “Palm Springs Modern Living”
of Karen and Tony Barone and their studio.
A not-to-be missed book available through





The dedication of an “R. HERO” sculpture by artists Karen & Tony Barone, honoring Firefighters and First Responders, was donated by the Hero In You Foundation to Fire Station #27 in Hollywood, CA. Bunni Benaron of the Hero In You Foundation is joined by Los Angeles City dignitaries at the ceremony.





“Sculptures “Monsieur Pompapour” (Pink Poodle) and Mademoiselle Coco”
(Blue Point Siamese Cat) by artists Karen & Tony Barone are featured in a
Palm Springs Life (Magazine) article on the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.


Palm Springs Life Barone Art



The Boys & Girls Club Canoga Park (Los Angeles, CA) receives its very own R. HERO sculpture by artists Karen & Tony Barone.
The donation of the R. HERO sculpture honoring Firefighters and First Responders is made possible by The Hero In You Foundation.



Social Life





Frank Sinatra Invitaional


















The following “R. HERO” sculptures by Karen & Tony Barone were donated by the generosity of Bunni & Rick Benaron and their Hero In You Foundation – we can’t thank them enough or be any prouder of these meaningful, purposeful, heartfelt locations.

March was a very busy month for R-HERO! From East Coast to West Coast, as well as internationally, we’re celebrating respect, honor and bravery across the nation while inspiring our nation’s youth to be the next generation of heroes. Check out some of our most recent dedications below!

Head Injury Association – Dedicated March 30, 2015

Hauppauge, NY
R.Hero found a new home at the Head Injury Association, which seeks to maximize potential among Traumatic Brain Injury survivors and those with intellectual/ developmental disabilities by providing the necessary residential and support programs to help them achieve four valued outcomes: Individualization, Independence, Integration and Productivity.  The dedication ceremony included the singing of “ y Hero” by the Head Injury Association Choir and a presentation displaying the artwork created by Day Program participants that depicted imagery of the heroes in their lives. 

Los Angeles Public Library Lake View Terrace – Dedicated March 27, 2015

Lake View Terrace, CA
The first installation with the City of Los Angeles, and the first public library installation, the dedication at the Lake View Terrace Branch Library brought together more than 70 students as well as representatives from Councilman Tony Fuentes’ office, representatives from Congressman Tony Cardenas’ office, the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, the Chief Park Ranger, Los Angeles Public Library, and K9 heroes from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation and Actors and Others for Animals.

Museo de los Niños Tin Marín – Dedicated March 12, 2015

San Salvador, El Salvador
R.Hero journeyed across borders and seas to arrive in his first international home at Museo de los Ninos Tin Marin.  This children’s museum in El Salvador allows children to explore new professions, including becoming a firefighter, while educating youth on how to care for their health, the environment, and all areas of sciences. The museum provides educational support to the local schools and teachers, making it the perfect place to help R.Hero inspire future generations.

Upcoming Dedications:

L.A. Fire Station 112 – San Pedro, CA

Palm Springs Public Library – Palm Springs, CA




Gorilla pink

PALM SPRINGS LIFE Fashion Editor SUSAN STEIN joins artists KAREN & TONY BARONE in their studio to view a maquette of their over-the-top larger-than-life artwork to be installed in front of the big white tents at Fashion Week El Paseo 2015. The 7’ HOT PINK aluminum artwork titled:


will have its unveiling during the “Official Fashion Week Launch & Press Party,” a private “Diva” event, held poolside at the Barone studio in March. It will then be placed outside the tents to razzle-dazzle the crowds in attendance at the

10th annual Fashion Week El Paseo 2015

runway extravaganza in Palm Desert put on by Palm Springs Life Magazine.


Desert Arc has purpose to party. Mitch Blumberg, and Karen and Tony Barone

Palm Springs Life - 6th Annual Jazz It Up With Bill Marx Mitch Blumberg, Kimmy Fuerst, and Karen and Tony Barone

Sherbert header

Karen McNeil, who has homes in Vancouver & Palm Springs, commissioned Karen & Tony Barone to create a sculpture in memory of her longtime companion, a Bulldog named “SHERBERT”. The approximately 3’ tall painted aluminum sculpture was installed on the grounds of her ultra modern Palm Springs home with site lines from almost every point within the interior and exterior grounds.

Karen McNeil’s words upon seeing the completed sculpture and its installation, “aaaahhhh, Thank you for bringing him to his home away from home. I feel this sense of relief and sadness. When I look at this piece I am reminded of how important it was to have him near me.”



Karen Barone said: “The meaningful words by Karen McNeil truly gave us a sense of accomplishment.”



Kingsport’s new ‘R. Hero’ sculpture honors first responders

A Special Thanks to Buster Watts of Kingsport TN. who spearheaded this project.

News TN1




Kingsport R Hero for city brochure

Desert Mag_small


“R. HERO” sculptures arrive in

Poughkeepsie, NY

Portsmouth, VA 

Greater Chicago

“R. HERO” Dalmatian puppy sculptures created by Artists Karen & Tony Barone to honor firefighters and first responders found homes in Poughkeepsie, NY, Portsmouth, VA and Greater Chicago. The dalmatian public art sculptures continue to follow the artist’s vision to create a “Dalmatian-Nation”.

A turquoise dalmatian now proudly stands in front of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum of Poughkeepsie, NY, with a very special dedication unveiling ceremony taking place on the ever so meaningful date of 9/11.

A royal blue “R.HERO” was received by the Portsmouth Museum Complex and will proudly honor their local heroes and have a special dedication unveiling ceremony. Date TBA.

A turquoise “R. HERO” sculpture arrived at the nationally recognized KOHL CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF GREATER CHICAGO in Glenview, IL. A dedication unveiling ceremony is scheduled for September 26th.


Donation of all three “R. HERO” sculptures was made possible by the generosity of Bunni & Rick Benaron of Rancho Mirage, CA.

For more information visit:



 “R. HERO” sculptures arrive in the Midwest & Northeast

“R. HERO” Dalmatian puppy dog sculptures created by Karen & Tony Barone to honor firefighters and first responders found homes in Detroit Michigan & Seattle Washington. The giant brightly colored 6’-2” tall all aluminum works of art, according to Karen Barone, are fulfilling their mission of creating a “Dalmatian-Nation”.

The 1st “R. HERO” a dazzling highly reflective turquoise, arrived at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. It was installed in the Hospital’s new “Healing Garden”.


The 2nd to arrive was a shimmering bright yellow gold “R. HERO”. It is being installed in front of the new Children’s Cancer wing of the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The donation of both sculptures to these meaningful locations was made possible by the philanthropic generosity of Bunni & Rick Benaron of Rancho Mirage, CA.

For more information on “R. HERO” visit:


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