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Iconic Larry's Dawg House Turns it Gold for childhood cancer awareness

Published: October 20, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Passion Works Studio and the Ohio University soccer team, in partnership with the non-profit Turn it Gold have turned the drive thru of the iconic Larry’s Dawg House gold.

Gold is the official ribbon color for childhood cancer awareness. Turn it Gold’s mission is to elevate childhood cancer awareness to change the percentage of dollars invested in childhood cancer research. Passion Works is a non-profit collaborative making space that fosters inclusion, connection, purpose and belonging with people of varying abilities.

This is the seventh year OHIO Athletics has partnered with Turn it Gold and Passion Works. During the 2021-22 academic year, OHIO will host six Turn it Gold athletic games in football, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball. Team activities include working with Passion Works Studio to visually represent the mission of Turn it Gold in this region. Art projects have included ribbon banners that hang from the Armory, a mural on the back of the Valero gas station, and a gold playground at the Athens Branch of the Athens County Public Library.

The mural at Larry’s Dawg House was designed by artists at Passion Works Studio and includes the art of Andrew Bianco, a child who underwent treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma from 2018-19. During the month of September, which was National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, patrons of Larry’s witnessed OHIO soccer players and studio artists bring the mural to life. The Athens community will celebrate the completion of the mural at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Multiple families impacted by childhood cancers will be honored.

Turn it Gold at Larry's Dawg House

“I am honored to partner with organizations that bring joy and support to so many people in our community,” said Jim Stricklin, owner of Larry’s Dawg House. “I am proud to have a mural crafted by Passion Works artists and kids impacted by cancer on the wall of our drive-thru. Our customers love it. I love it. This is what makes Athens special.”

Patty Mitchell, executive director of Passion Works Studio, described its partnership with Turn it Gold as “a celebratory adventure which has amplified the mission of both organizations.”

“Through the collaborative artwork of adults with and without developmental differences, we raise awareness about a hard life experience through whimsical imagery,” she said. “In this mural, hot dogs, hamburgers and shakes dance while gold ribbons adorn the wall. Each gold ribbon represents the lives of kids and families impacted by childhood cancer.”

The studio strives for zero waste by upcycling discarded materials and uses environmentally- and person-friendly materials. The studio has created a “turn it gold with passion” product line including gold passion flowers of varying sizes. A percentage of each sale is donated to Turn it Gold.

“We presented a Bold Award to Passion Works in 2019 in acknowledgement of its creative and impactful efforts,” said Angela Dina, executive director of Turn it Gold. “We are grateful for the studio’s willingness to stand in solidarity with those impacted by childhood cancers.” Twenty percent of sales at Larry’s Dawg House on Nov. 18 will be donated to Passion Works.

The partnership between Turn it Gold, Passion Works, and OHIO Athletics is coordinated by Dr. Lynn Harter, a professor and co-director of the Barbara Geralds Institute for Storytelling and Social Impact. Harter has been involved with the Houston-based non-profit since co-producing and directing the documentary, along with Evan Shaw, Realistically Ever After: A Turn it Gold Movement. The film profiles the efforts of Turn it Gold as it collaborates with universities and communities across the nation. The film is distributed by PBS affiliates across the nation and is available on Amazon Prime. 

The partnership has been strengthened by a recent gift from the Sugar Bush Foundation, a supporting organization of the Ohio University Foundation. Monies from the Sugar Bush Foundation support the efforts of Passion Works Studio and the Storytelling Institute as they create “pop-up” community art experiences in places where people live, work, and gather. Paint for the mural was donated by Eric Lucas, president of Carpet One Floor and Moore.

“The Sugar Bush Foundation is proud to partner with Passion Works and the Storytelling Institute to help joyfully lift up our region as a place and people of tremendous assets, in the midst of life’s very real struggles,” said Hylie Voss, president of the Sugar Bush Foundation board. “We believe in the power of partnerships, such as is so beautifully illustrated by the mural painted by Passion Works artists and OHIO student-athletes onto the iconic wall of Larry’s Dawg House.”

To learn more about the Turn it Gold with Passion initiative, view this digital story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ2X-wF8rH4.