Art by Animals: Online Auction Bidding for Original Pieces by 'Residents Artists' of Best Friends Animal Society's Sanctuary

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Animals at the nation’s largest sanctuary engage in an artistic competition to remember. Using berries, natural dyes and non-toxic paints, dogs, cats, horses, potbellied pigs, parrots, geese and a goat find their “inner Pawcasso.”

Artistic statement by a cat: "More tuna for lunch"

The cats issued a challenge to the other animals at the Sanctuary to participate in an art competition, while the caregivers devised the best way for the dogs, horses, parrots and potbellied pigs to prove they were the next 'Pawcasso.'

For more than 25 years, Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in remote southern Utah has been a mecca for animal lovers and now it’s an artists’ haven, too — for furry and feathered creative geniuses.

Between now and Oct. 31, art connoisseurs can participate in an online auction to acquire pieces by these talented “resident artists.” It all started when sanctuary caregivers who watch over the feline residents wanted to develop a team-building exercise. That led to having the cats create art. Between laser pointer chasing, tap dancing on top of plastic, playing with toys, nibbling treats, flailing their tails around and more, Best Friends cats proved to be consummate creators, which led to the inevitable question: “What would a dog do?”

The cats issued a challenge to the other animals at the Sanctuary to participate in an art competition, while the caregivers devised the best way for the dogs, horses, parrots and potbellied pigs to prove they were the next “Pawcasso.”

Dogtown residents proved to be masters of the paw print, using their feet to bring life and color to everything from canvasses to hats to rocks. Horse Haven painters were likewise foot-savvy (and tail-savvy), creating inspiring equine canvasses that would make any art lover swoon.

The finished art from the parrots was mesmerizing. Using such mediums as card stock and coffee filters, the birds employed “beak and negative space” to create images that resembled a Dallas Cowboy football helmet, a totem pole, and the hugely popular “Portrait of an Owl,” by Olive, an Amazon parrot, which won an honorable mention in the contest.

Potbellied pigs got in touch with their inner Rembrandt. The caregivers placed deposits of paint on a canvas, then covered the canvas with plastic. At that point, the pigs moved the paint around in fascinating patterns with their snouts and hooves, albeit with a few treats placed here and there to help them find their subconscious muse. Hollywood the pig took second place overall with her stunning contribution, aptly titled “Done by a Diva.”

It was no small compliment that the cats’ artwork was most often compared to Jackson “Paw”llock. A feline named Wild Child took third place with a stunning painting that resembled a large fish, after which one of the judges decided Wild Child was clearly communicating the message “More tuna for lunch!”

Top honors for the day, however, went to a pair of geese, Kayenta and Nemi. Their rags-to-riches art success story proves that even art of the humblest possible origin can stand out from the crowd.

Caregivers placed a large paper canvas on the ground so that Nemi and Kayenta could employ the salad, berries, pellets and water nearby as art material. That’s all it took for the two budding Picassos to whip up a truly spectacular display.

Their finished offering contained a creative concoction of sand, berry juice, salad shavings, feathers, shredded pellets, grass (and no, not what you’re thinking) mixed into one dazzling combination. Their earthy materials of choice were enough to wow the judges into awarding the geese the grand prize.

And the art fans went wild. Best Friends members who read about these “resident artists” demanded a shot at purchasing some of the paintings. So for the month of October, selected pieces will be available through the Best Friends Animal Society Online Auction.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of members and community partners across the nation.

Media Contacts:

Barbara Williamson, media relations manager or (435) 689-0200 (cell) or barbara(at)bestfriends(dot)org

John Polis, public relations manager (435) 644-2001, ext. 4858 (office), or johnp(at)bestfriends(dot)org

Temma Martin, public relations specialist (801) 953-8876 (cell) or temmam(at)bestfriends(dot)org

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