Shelly Birkelo
Rachel Patterson offers a behind the scenes look at the paw-print-art-painting process.

Pets leave their print on Pawcasso art for upcoming fundraiser

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Shelly Birkelo
July 23, 2015

JANESVILLE—Rachel Patterson blotted excess nontoxic paint onto a sponge before patting it on the paws of Francine, a 4-month-old kitten.

Then she flashed a laser pointer across a canvas, prompting Francine to chase the light and create a paw print pattern.

To date, Patterson and a dozen animals—cats, kittens, dogs and puppies—up for adoption at the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin have created paw art prints that will be among 25 pieces up for silent auction at the organization's second annual Pawcasso Art Auction and Gala on Friday, Aug. 7.

The fundraiser will feature appetizers, a raffle, cash bar and made-by-paw art by humane society animals from 6 to 8 p.m. at Riley's Sports Bar & Grill, 209 W. Milwaukee St.

“Having animals create their own art showcases the animals and helps draw people into the event that's great for the artsy people in the community. We're reaching out to that group of people who also are animal lovers and combining their passion into one event,” said Patterson, humane society volunteer and event coordinator.

The animal art pieces will be as small as 5-by-7 inches and up to as large as 16-by-20 inches. Some feature a few paw prints while other pieces have prints all over in black and white or beige and brown. Pops of color or glitter were used to add a splash of sparkle, Patterson aid.

“We created a variety,” she said.

The event also supports local artists by featuring their works—stained glass, woodwork, pottery and paintings—in a silent auction, Patterson said.

Money raised will go toward spaying and neutering animals coming into the shelter.

“Last year, we had 600 more animals than the previous year, and this year we're on track to have 500 more than last year,” she said.

This includes transport dogs from southern shelters “that don't have a handle on spaying and neutering,” Patterson said.

“We're caring for these animals that otherwise would be euthanized,” she said.

While $3,000 was raised at the first Pawcasso event in 2013, Patterson said the goal is to raise $4,500 during this fundraiser.

“It is going to let us continue taking in these transports and help these animals with their daily care,” which may include medication to special diet foods, she said.

The humane society brought in 31 transport animals—primarily dogs—last year but already has brought in more than 300 transports this year, Patterson said.

“We want to be able to do that so are finding ways to save more animals. We have room in the kennels. But the more animals we save, the more it costs,” she said.

Fifteen percent of dogs that come to the South Arch Street shelter get released to owners while the other half go up for adoption within an average of two weeks, Patterson said.

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