On October 30, we will be celebrating Okey’s “Gotcha Day,” the day that she was rescued from that infamous parking lot! To celebrate, and to raise funds for the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond project, I am going to create an artwork every day in October, and post it for auction on my main website, BZTAT Studios. Each artwork will be accompanied by an encouraging “Thought for the Day”.
I hope that you will check out the auctions and bid if you like. Or just enjoy the artwork! Everyone who bids, however, will be entered into a contest for a free artwork at the end of the month. All proceeds from the auctions will go towards the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond project.
The drawing above is the first piece available for auction. You can learn more about it here if you’d like to check it out.
It has been an amazing year with Okey as she has overcome challenges and begun to trust again. She is still skittish, but she grows more trusting every day. I spent much of the day in bed today nursing a cold, and she was with me the whole time, snuggling and rubbing her head on my hand. What a resilient little girl she is!
The mural consists of three 4′ W x 8′ H wood panels (making a 12′ W x 8’H mural) and a sign that explains the project as a part of the Okey’s Promise mission. The mural will be hung on an exterior wall of the Imperial Room, a restaurant/lounge in the Canton Ohio Arts District at 420 Court Ave. NW, on Monday, August 1,2011.
The mural will be dedicated with much fanfare during the Canton First Friday festivities on Friday, August 5 at 7:30 pm. The Critter Parade, a tradition of First Fridays, will end its route at the mural, and at that point, we will share some fun and inspiration with words from ArtsinStark President and C.E.O. Robb Hankins, Stacey Giammarco of the Domestic Violence Partnership, Inc., and myself.
As is tradition with my animal themed murals, local animal rescue groups with adoptable animals will be part of the dedication. You just might meet your new best friend there!
If you can make it to Canton, OH I hope that you will join in the celebration! If not, we will have a live broadcast on UStream so you can attend from anywhere in the world. Stay tuned for details!
What: Dedication of the “Safe Animals Safe Kids” mural by artist BZTAT
I decided to wait to launch the fund raising for Okey’s Promise until I had a few things more confirmed. Although there are still issues to be addressed, I have enough support for the project now to ensure it’s success. So here goes!
You can make pledges to the Kickstarter Campaign here. Making a pledge is a commitment to providing funds for the project if I reach the total goal. If I do not reach my goal of $5000.00 in pledges, then nothing will happen. If I do reach my goal (I plan to exceed it!) then Amazon will automatically deduct your pledge from the payor source that you designate.
Any amount helps! As you can see on the Kickstarter page, I am offering goodies for anyone who pledges $1 or more. Of course I want some big pledges, but I value and appreciate anyone who pledges at any level. Okey and I thank you for any amount that you pledge!!!
Thanks to the efforts of the indefatigable Caroline Golon, Public Relations Guru Extraordinaire of BlogPaws and Romeo the Cat fame, I will have an extensive PR and national media campaign to publicize the project. BUT I ALSO NEED YOU!
I have found that it is the hand to hand, paw to paw, word of mouth, Facebook and Tweet networking that makes the most difference with launching projects like this. Even if you have no resources to pledge, you can help by getting the word out to others who may be interested.
Please let me know if you have any questions (I will have a FAQ on the site soon) and HELP SPREAD THE WORD!
I used to say that doing counseling (my other career) was like painting a painting. Instead of using lines and color and various media, I was managing human variables, bringing them together to find harmony out of chaos.
In both – creating a painting and using communication skills to bring about emotional healing – you have to surrender a certain amount of control to dimensions out of your reach. But with both, you rely on your skills, talents, and spiritual connections with others to bring about something of value.
As I am moving towards my artwork becoming my main career focus, I am astounded at how the counselor in me comes through in the art, much as the artist in me did when counseling was my main focus.
Although I specialize in painting animals, a subject that would seem to be somewhat separate from more social conscience types of art, I am amazed at how healing pet-themed artworks can be to people who rely on their pets for balance and connection in their worlds.
I also find that I have become more deeply connected with people who are doing great work with pet rescue and animal charities to deal with the inhumanity perpetrated on innocent creatures in our society.
Recently, a lost and forlorn cat crossed my path. Residing in a parking lot and in danger of being killed by heavy traffic in the area, she was like a sitting duck. Reluctantly, I rescued her – the reluctance being because of my own circumstances being not the best for adopting a new cat.
I was deeply humbled by how many people not only followed her story here, but also donated to her veterinary care. Within DAYS, $305 was raised for my little Okey.
It is clear to me that Okey was socialized to some degree with people, then abandoned. The way that she cowers with me leads me to believe that the humans she has encountered before me were frightening to her. She is coming around, but it is a slow process.
It is one thing to care about animals and to have compassion for creatures who are lost in our human world. Yet there are those who would suggest that we should worry more about other social ills first. An editorial in my local paper went so far as to decry volunteers who give of themselves, implying that childhood poverty was a more important concern to address.
But here is the reality. 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. Where there is poverty, there is an abundance of unwanted pets due to animals not being spayed and neutered.
Truth be told, child welfare programs grew out of the efforts of animal rescue organizations who were seeing children in deplorable conditions when they were rescuing endangered pets.
The issue of pet abuse and abandonment is deeply connected to the issue of child abuse and domestic violence. Both issues need to be addressed together, not one in isolation of each other. I have a whole contingent of women and children advocates who will back me up on this.
My community of Stark County, OH has had a long history of poor management and horrible conditions at the county dog pound. Recently, mismanagement led to a family pet being wrongfully euthanized, and our commissioners are, once again failing to see how this issue connects with the other ills of our society.
I want to make it VERY difficult to do that from here on out.
I want to make my local community, as well as the broader global community with whom I connect, to realize that we must treat our animals well, in addition to addressing the needs of children and others in need in the community.
How? I am planning a series of large public artworks to place prominently in my community to highlight the value that animals bring to our world. Along with the artwork, I want to create a public awareness campaign to highlight the connections between animal maltreatment and child abuse and domestic violence.
These will not be negatively focused artworks to make us feel guilty, rather, they will be artworks designed to make us feel good about doing what is right.
I do not yet have the funding for the project, and it will likely come in stages. I plan to utilize Kickstarter.com, potential grants, and other resources to raise the funds. I am submitting the idea to Launchpad, in hopes that I might become one of their “Five people, five ideas, transforming five communities”.
I hope that I can rely on my fans and friends to get the word out and help in anyway that they can. You guys are THE BEST.
In the interest of full disclosure, please know that I have to make a living, so the fund raising will provide me support to live as I engage in the project. Consider it an Encore Career, combining “purpose, passion and a paycheck”. I would not be able to do it otherwise. But trust me, I will not be getting rich off of the project.
Art with a purpose and art with passion is essential to me. Bringing about change through creative motivation is the most valuable change there is. I want to be a part of the solution to community concerns locally, and worldwide.
In honor of my little rescue cat, saved from the dangers of the streets in Canton, which I intend to make safer for all, I am calling the project “Okey’s Promise”. The art will make a promise to do better for our community’s children and creatures.
As I try to show this little cat that some humans are OK, and the world doesn’t have to be so scary, I am haunted by the fact that there could be a child out there missing her.
And that child doesn’t have me or anyone else to show him or her that the world is OK.
Will you help me change that?
Public art to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small.