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View of two bronze "The Friendly Dragon" sculptures and "The Friendly Frog" in the Grand River

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View of two bronze "The Friendly Dragon" sculptures and "The Friendly Frog" in the Grand River


Animal sculpture--20th century.
Bronze sculpture, American--20th century.
Dragons in art.
Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998
Frogs in art
Grand River (Mich.)


“I did … a dragon; I called it The Friendly Dragon. The architect said he didn't think he would use it because he said the children would be frightened of a dragon. But children love dragons and it's not an ugly dragon, it's a friendly dragon with a big smile and it's cozy and you can sit on its back on those humps on its back. It's just that he never was a child, I guess, so he doesn't know. So they put up a thing, a structural beam thing. I've never seen a child near it so maybe they didn't get the audience that they wanted really. I think maybe I'll do that Dragon. I like dragons anyway, they're special.” (Marshall Fredericks, from a 1981 interview with Joy Colby, The Detroit News art critic.)

Throughout his long career, Fredericks often returned to his joyful and whimsical work that involved animals. “The Friendly Dragon, cast twice in 1991, as a pair for the Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a child’s magical dream. Like a Maurice Sendak illustration (popular author of Where the Wild Things Are), Fredericks’ dragon presents a danger that has become approachable, a wild animal that has become as friendly as a pet.” (Marshall M. Fredericks, Sculptor, p. 14)

The large-scale bronze Friendly Dragon is located at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Fredericks designed this large friendly appearing frog as a children’s slide. The original cast of this sculpture was located at the Hudson wing of the Genesee Valley Shopping Center in Flint, Michigan for 16 years where children did use it as a slide.

In 1986 the mall donated it to the Flint Children's Museum. When they moved to their new quarters (1602 W. Third) in 1993, the building’s floor was not strong enough to support the frog’s 6,600 pound concrete and terrazzo weight, which forced the frog to be stored offsite. In 2004, the Ruth Mott Foundation purchased the frog from the Flint Children’s Museum for $35,000 where it now resides permanently on the 30-acre Applewood Estates in Flint.


Marshall M. Fredericks Papers
Series V, Box 13 Folder 25




Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Archives.








Grand Rapids (Mich.)

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Color print

Physical Dimensions

4" x 6"

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