Jan 012013
 
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

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Nov 282012
 
Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause public art mural sketch by BZTAT

Okey’s Promise mural sketch by BZTAT

I spent 20 years working as a professional clinical counselor. In that time, I met a number of children who had been abused or exposed to domestic violence. The trauma was profound and the emotional effects were deep for these children.

Most of these children are now adults. Some have recovered from their painful experiences and have gone on to be successful in their endeavors. Others still struggle, but are working towards recovery.

And there are a few who have ended up in prison for violent crimes. That is the reality of recovery – some do not get to the place where we want them to be.

I met up with a young woman recently with whom I had worked towards a healing journey from her painful history. This young woman continues to struggle. She has a support network that stands by her, though, and a family that she has accrued through the years. She knows how important that is to her.

I had not seen her in probably 5 years. The reunion was emotional for both of us.

I was completely disarmed by her genuine gratitude for my past efforts on her behalf. As a child, she had many moments of reacting angrily against me, so I was surprised that she had recognized that I was helping her. One by one, she recounted incidents where I had stood by her despite her ingratitude at the time.

And she thanked me.

Not just for standing by her, but for understanding her pain.

This young lady loved animals, but when she experienced her emotional torment, that love turned to hate. She did not understand why, and she hated herself for it, but when her pain became too great, she attempted to harm the very pets whom she loved.

Luckily, she had foster parents and a treatment team that understood this. Plans were in place to protect the child and the animals from the dangers of her pain.

As we walked down memory lane recalling this, she was profuse in her gratitude about my help in keeping her from hurting the animals who were her best friends.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead has said, “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” My young friend told me in so many words that she believed it to be true.

She rekindled my belief in the necessity of educating the public about this important issue.

Okey’s Promise is not just about animals. It is not just about children. It is not just about abuse and domestic violence.

Okey’s Promise is about bringing widespread awareness to the connections of animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence through public art, so that we can help animals AND people be safe in our world.

I cannot do it alone. Will you help me?

My young friend, and many others out there deeply appreciate your understanding and willingness to share it with the world.

BZTAT

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

donate to Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause

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Jul 242012
 
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!

BZTAT

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May 122012
 

Amazon Cares dog umbrella drawing by bztatWherever there are people, there are pets. We are a species that attracts, and is attracted to, animals whose own species have evolved through adapting to human interaction.

Even when certain dogs and cats and other companion animals are not socialized to humans, their overall species has adapted to us, and therefore, they rely on us for their survival. That is why there are growing efforts to address the needs of homeless pets who live off the discards of humanity and lurk on the fringes of our lives.

Humanity created their situation. They did not.

It amazes me to see people working to resolve the problem of homeless pets in their local communities. When someone travels to another side of the world to do it, well, that is just incredible.

Molly Mednikow did that.

Not only did she do that, she walked away from a thriving career in Atlanta, GA and started the charity Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety (Amazon CARES) in the Peruvian Amazon. On her first trip to the region, she was struck by the awareness that numerous worldwide organizations were working on environmental issues affecting the Amazon, but there was no effort to address the needs of homeless domestic animals. “One could not walk three feet without stepping over a severely ill dog, lacking hope or opportunity in this environment,” she said. The experience compelled her to act.

Amazon CARES has since received international acclaim for its innovation and essential work to aid sick and injured animals, promote spay-neuter programs, and reduce the abuse and neglect of companion animals. Their programs aim to improve community health through working with both the animals and human beings in the region.

It is a daunting task. The concept of animal welfare is not as established in this society as it is in American culture, thus educating citizens about the importance of animal care is a big job.

The volunteers of Amazon CARES have made considerable progress in a few short years. Recently, though, they have faced serious setbacks. The Peruvian Amazon region has been experiencing the worst flooding in decades. The shelter in which they had housed sick animals and tended to their veterinary needs was washed away in the floods. The animals were rescued, but they are now in cramped quarters.

The Fondation 30 millions d’Amis has provided them with an emergency grant, and they have received generous donations from private donors. This has enabled them to build a smaller, emergency shelter on higher land. Local government is donating wood to assist with the project. More donations are needed, though. You can learn more here, and you can contribute to the fund raising campaign with the widget below.

The picture above is one that I drew to encourage hope amidst the losses facing Amazon CARES. Indeed, hope is what they are all about. Their work is so inspiring. I wish them well as they work to recover from the setbacks and continue the marvelous work they do – for the animals and for the people of Peru.

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