Meet Jana Liptak, an artist & climber of the BKB community, who just put up a beautiful mural at Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge.
You might’ve seen this adorable dog wandering Brooklyn Boulders before (or recognize her from our Instagram):
Her name is Ophelia and she’s the unofficial mascot of BKB. Ophelia is the reason why artist and long-time climber Caleb Freese, who trains all the instructors for ropes courses, got involved in the community. Meet Ophelia and her human, Caleb:
How did you meet Ophelia – did she always have that name?
I adopted Ophelia from the Portland Humane Society, in Oregon. I’d had dogs my whole life and once I moved out on my own I’d realized I couldn’t imagine myself without a dog. Ever. I struggled to identify myself without owning a dog. So I went to the pound the next day.
While the Shakespeare reference is there, her name was inspired by The Band “Ophelia”. She was quite reserved at first, taking a long time to warm up but she always loved playing fetch. The pound described her as “an oversized lap dog who loves playing fetch” and it’s true. If she’s not at BKB playing fetch, she’ll curl up in you lap. She’s 100% a different dog when the ball is not around, she gets tucked in at night and will lay around for hours.
How did you get involved with Brooklyn Boulders?
I was walking Ophelia! Walked by the gym during construction and got to know everyone. I’d guided outdoors and taught climbing for a college on the west coast- so it was a natural fit. Lance said, “how well you’ve trained your dog speaks a lot about you as a person” and so they hired me right away. I taught the first belay class at BKB and now train for all the belay classes in all facilities.
How did Ophelia become the unofficial BKB mascot?
Another owner said, “I’m glad you have a dog because every gym needs a dog”. I think a dog sets the tone of the gym. Ultimately the gym should embody the spirit of a climbing crag outdoors. Good people. Bad ass climbing. Active, unique and easygoing people. And theres always a dog.
What else are you up to around BKB?
I’m near completion of a 14 foot mural in the entrance of Brooklyn Boulders. I’ve spent entirely too much time hand drawing the entire NYC skyline. But I hope people will like it AND its really a thank you to BKB for being amazing. A thank you to the owners, employees and all the members. Here’s a sneak peek:
Ophelia’s favorite food?
Hahahaha. Anything meat.. and that’s it. The first year we opened we had a hot dog eating contest: whoever could eat more hot dogs in one minute than Ophelia would get a free membership. Ophelia won.
Next time you see Ophelia around the gym, be sure to toss her a ball! She’ll thank you.