Category Archives: Fund Raising

Auctions to support the current Okey’s Promise Project!

Drawing of Okey by BZTAT
“Okey” Drawing by BZTAT

On my main website, I create a blogpost every year at New Year’s that is a vision board. My first priority for this year’s vision board post is to, “Create my third Okey’s Promise project – a mural on a building in Barberton, OH, that educates and inspires people around the world to take action against animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.”

In order to create the mural, I need to raise money for the costs involved. I have been lucky to have Okey’s Promise Keepers to assist with the funding of my previous projects, and I have had some very special Promise Keepers contributing to the current project as well. I have also done some special promotional auctions where people can bid on artworks and the winning bids go towards the campaign.

I am going to, again, do auctions throughout January to aid the campaign. You can follow the auctions at BZTAT Studios or on the Okey’s Promise Facebook page. Watch for art auctions all month, starting with a kick-off auction tomorrow.

Some artworks will be new, and some will be works from previous auctions that did not sell. Like the drawing above of Okey. Watch for postings tomorrow about the first auction. You might get some great art for a steal!

If you would like to contribute to the campaign regardless of the auctions, you can do so by clicking on the donate button below. Thanks for any support that you can offer!

Please support the latest Okey’s Promise project. Become an Okey’s Promise Keeper today!

donate to Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause


Here we go again…It’s a new Okey’s Promise project!

Okey White Cat drawing by BZTAT

I am still working on the “Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond” project, and plan to finish in October. After that project is completed, I want to be ready to start immediately on the next project!

In order to do that, I need to start the fund raising for the project now. So, drum roll…

The new project is now launched!

With this project, I plan to focus on the needs of homeless pets who often fall victim to abuse and neglect in our communities. Rather than focus on the ugliness of abuse and neglect, however, the art, as is my style, will focus on hopeful outcomes.

This is my 3rd Okey’s Promise Project (see the other 2 projects here), and it promises to be the most creative yet! I plan to creatively transform the facade of a building with images of cats and dogs, and possibly some other companion animals.

I intend to take a nondescript building in the hub of a town in Ohio (to be revealed later) and turn it into a creative masterpiece that opens eyes, hearts and minds.

I will create murals on wood that will be attached to the exterior of the building.  A business owner has agreed to allow me to use her building as a canvas, and she is very excited to have the next Okey’s Promise project grace her property!

The exact location of the property will be revealed after all the logistics and official schtuff that is required is complete. It is in the business district of a city in Ohio. The property owner is a very committed arts and animal enthusiast and will be a very solid partner for the project.

Funding for the project is needed to assist with the purchase of art materials, studio rent, costs of hanging the mural, and creative time spent painting the mural. The goal may seem large, but it is very costly to create public art.

All money raised will go towards supplies for the project, studio rent, utilities and other expenses, and a small salary to compensate me as the artist for my work. This will be my “job” during the time I work on the project, and I will need to be compensated so that my needs and my pets’ needs are not neglected.

Would you like to participate in the Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause movement? Would you like to be one of Okey’s Promise Keepers?

Previous projects have all been crowd-funded with some grant assistance. We hope that you will join this project and be a part of the movement. You can contribute here or you can go to the fund raising page.

Thanks for your support!


And the rescue is about to start…

feral kittensYesterday I wrote about how I was going to help with a friend’s feral cat colony. I mentioned that there were kittens in the group that had health issues. I got some good news about them today.

The Tuscarawas County Humane Society has a cat shelter, and they have agreed to take the kittens. Yay! Not only will they take them, they will also get them vetted and nursed back to health, and then put them up for adoption when they are ready.

I plan to catch the kittens tomorrow (I hope they won’t need traps) and take them in to the shelter in the evening. I will follow up with the shelter and keep you posted on their progress.

There are still adult cats who will need to be trapped, spay/neutered and returned to the wild. I am considering 2 programs for this. One is One of a Kind Pets in Fairlawn, OH. Fairlawn is quite a distance, but the program has better availability.  The other program is the Tuscarawas Co. Humane Society who uses the mobile Rascal Unit for low cost spay/neuter. Although it is closer, there is less frequent access to them.

Whichever program I choose, both will entail some costs for the spay/neuter process for each cat. I have started a ChipIn fund raising event to raise money to cover these costs. (Please see widget in sidebar.) Each spay/neuter will cost around $60. Transportation costs may need to be covered as well, if we use One of a Kind Pets. Any assistance that you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

All of the donated money will go to a dedicated account at the CSE Federal Credit Union in Canton, OH. If donated funds exceed actual costs, the money will be used for another rescue effort.

Please follow the rescue efforts on the Okey’s Promise Facebook page. Wish me well!

Okey’s Promise Receives an ArtsInStark Grant!

Okey smiling and purring her thanks!

The winners of the annual ArtsInStark Special Project Grants have been announced, and I am proud to report that Okey’s Promise is one of them! In collaboration with the Domestic Violence Project, Inc., we have developed a more in-depth project, and it has been awarded $5000 by ArtsInStark, the Stark County, OH county arts council!

The grant monies will be combined with the money contributed by Okey’s Promise Keepers, which, to date amounts to $2738. Matching funds were required to qualify, so the Promise Keepers made it possible for us to be awarded the grant. Thank you ArtsInStark, and THANK YOU OKEY’S PROMISE KEEPERS!!! We still could use additional funds, so if you are interested, please consider contributing via the ChipIn widget in the sidebar.

I am excited to be working with the Domestic Violence Project, Inc., which is a very progressive organization that works with survivors of domestic violence in Stark County, Ohio. I am very grateful to them, and in particular, their Executive Director, Melissa Pearce, who has been deeply supportive of the Okey’s Promise mission. Melissa contributed personally to the first project and she has been by my side every step of the way with the overall Okey’s Promise concept. Melissa is also coordinating with a local effort to provide foster care opportunities for pets from families affected by domestic violence. The effort will work to ensure that pet care is not an impediment for securing safety for vulnerable individuals.

The new Okey’s Promise project has evolved and includes a youth and community focus that extends beyond the original project design. The following is the description of the project that was submitted to ArtsInStark:

When animals are suffering in society, children are too. When there is violence to animals, there is likely violence to children and others who may be defenseless. – Artist BZTAT via Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause

A number of high profile violent crimes in the Stark County area have alarmed citizens in recent years. Many of these crimes involved domestic violence, and many were either perpetrated against, or witnessed by, children. National statistics inform us that children who witness or experience such violence are at great risk for becoming violent perpetrators themselves or being adult victims who expect to be abused.

Statistics also inform us that abuse to animals is significantly correlated with domestic violence and child abuse. Women often remain in violent situations because they have no place for beloved pets to go when they and their children go to shelters. Abusers often manipulate their victims through threats or actual violence to pets. Children who experience violence often express their trauma by harming animals, and many later become violent towards people as well.

The Domestic Violence Project, Inc. (DVPI) is deeply concerned about the youth served through its agency programs. DVPI is currently exploring opportunities to develop shelter options for pets so that Stark County victims of abuse can reach safety for themselves and their animals. In this effort, DVPI and artist Vicki Boatright (known as BZTAT) are collaborating to bring intense focus and awareness to these issues, and assist children affected by violence through an innovative art project.

DVPI and BZTAT intend to work with at-risk youth, encouraging them to use art as a means of self-expression and healing. In addition to the therapeutic benefit of creative expression, young participants will also benefit from humane education in the process, integrating empathy, compassion, integrity, wisdom and knowledge into their value system.

The artist will work alongside an art therapist with children and adolescents in groups, encouraging them to express themselves creatively about their experiences. The artist will then use the artwork created by the youth in a series of 10-12 professional artworks (approx. 48” H x 32” W each) that relate to the links between animal abuse, domestic violence and child abuse. These artworks will become a traveling exhibit that will be used locally by DVPI and other interested agencies at events and other designated activities to raise awareness about the issues of domestic violence and pet abuse. The artist will assist DVPI through public speaking and other activities during and after the project in a public awareness campaign.

This project is innovative on a number of fronts: 1) It empowers children and adolescents who have experienced the pain of domestic violence to utilize creativity as a means for healing, behavioral redirection and humane education. 2) It allows children to work with a professional artist to create an important piece of public art that educates and informs the public about serious issues. 3) It brings important public awareness to the well researched yet little known facts connecting animal abuse and domestic violence. 4) It assists in the promotion and development of pet shelter options for those seeking refuge from domestic violence in Stark County. 5) The artist involved has been nationally recognized for her innovative approaches to raising awareness for serious issues through art and also for creative fund raising for her projects (social media, Kickstarter, ChipIn, etc.).

Work on the project will begin in January 2012. Stay tuned and be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the latest updates!