Share the Love & Save the Fluff Art Show
I have always loved seeing art from my peers and I know that a lot of them are animals lovers. I thought we could bring the two together by asking local artists to donate a piece of art based off of a photograph of one of the animals from the shelter. This way, we’re merging two parts of our local community for good. The art would be held silent auction-style and would last the entire event to raise funds for our group.
We had over 30 artists interested and were so grateful for their donations as well as the sponsors we had that were able to make this event possible. I named the event Share the Love and Save the Fluff because it was a Valentine’s Day event (hence the Love) and because I wanted a friendly approach to the shelter and the animals there (Fluff). The promotional material was my own design and we wanted something completely different from the volunteer group branding. The event was held at a local boutique shop with an animal lover owner and we had two food trucks outside, 4 musicians throughout the evening, a room of wine, and Instabus OKC Mobile Photo Booth.
Besides the art and flyers we had for the event, the most important aspect for me was having a wall of photographs of all of the current animals available at the shelter for adoption. I wanted the people coming to the event to really see the faces of these animals and to give them a chance.
I worked on my own piece, Fearful of Men, that was a simple type poster and the artist statement told my story about meeting this incredible dog that was very gentle and affectionate, but had obviously been through something before he had gotten to the shelter because he was terrified of men. Because of his breed- pit bull- and his growling reactions to men, they labeled him "Fearful of Men" and he was euthanized after being at the shelter less than a week- two days after I photographed him. His story is one I will never forget.
We raised just over $2,000 from the event from art and wine donations.
Friends of the Animals of Norman
is a non-profit volunteer group that I was a board member of before I graduated from the University of Oklahoma. FAN works with the City of Norman Animal Shelter and is are their primary source of getting awareness, volunteers, and adoptions.
The Norman Shelter is a kill shelter and it makes it all the more important for us to get people thinking about rescuing from us. We have a couple no-kill private groups in Norman and they do a wonderful job and will pull animals from our shelter when they have the space.
I chose this shelter to volunteer specifically because it is a kill shelter and I felt like I could do the most good here. I came in and started walking dogs and playing with cats and I talked with the board about their marketing needs. They had no promotional materials, but they did just get a logo, so I worked on an adoption flyer and a volunteer flyer- since those were the two most important people they needed.
I also started photographing all of the animals every time I went. They had one photographer who came maybe once a month, and with how much they turnover animals, many were never photographed and seen by the world. Going every week made sure that every animal got a photo and that we could share them on our Facebook page. Visibility is the animals best chance at getting a home and we have saved so many lives because of these simple photographs.
Being asked if I wanted to be on the FAN Board was a wonderful feeling- I wanted to know what else this group needed help with and I wanted to find out what else they were trying to do. I found out that they were always thinking about events that they could put on to help spread the word about our group, but they didn't know the best way to do that.
I now volunteer and foster at the Washington Humane Society and have helped them with a couple promotional designs/ marketing material. I mostly do the normal, much-needed volunteering at the building and I've taken in a couple fosters since I've been here.