Watching people playing and caring for their pets gives me hope for humanity. These visible expressions of compassion and kindness inspired me to create “Austin’s Best Friends: Paws & Claws Pet Portraits” as a fundraiser and community building activity for VSA Texas. From the Bronze Age through today, humans have frequently found ways to incorporate imagery of their much adored animal friends into art. Through our unique fundraiser, each donor will receive an original painted, drawn, or sewn portrait of a treasured pet or other meaningful animal for every $75 they donate by April 15th.
I donated $150 and submitted two photos. The first photo is of Zuzu, my girlfriend’s dog. For you classic movie buffs, Zuzu’s namesake is Zuzu Bailey, the daughter of George Bailey, Jimmy Stewart’s character in the 1946 Christmas comedy-drama film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Zuzu is a wild teenage Australian Shepherd. The second photo is of Bwana Mabvuto, a large and rambunctious single-tusked elephant I frequently observed in Malawi’s Upper Shire River Valley. In Chichewa, the local vernacular, Bwana Mabvuto means Boss Trouble.
|Photograph of Bwana Mabvuto by Frank Weitzer|
Our Pet Portrait fundraiser has attracted donations from across the country! My colleague, April Sullivan, VSA Texas’ Artworks Director, has lined up dozens of artists to create the original art. I’ve had a sneak peek at some of the results and the portraits are exceptional. However, we aren’t sharing the art with our donors quite yet. On Saturday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, we are presenting a special art show at East Austin’s Fast Folks Cyclery. From 12:00-4:00 PM, we will display all of the animal and pet portraits created for this very special fundraiser. The paintings will be sent to their owners, our generous donors, after the show. Please come to the show, even if you didn’t participate in the fundraiser!
It isn’t too late for you to participate in this heartwarming project. Follow this link to register for our Pet Portrait fundraiser and donate today. We need your help!