I enjoyed an evening with some of my best gal pals last week for "Moms' Night Out" hosted by our local MOMS Club. We all brought some food and wine to share and met up at Be...An Artist, a local art studio recently opened by artist Sandra Marshall. I was excited to do something different...slap some paint onto a canvas, but it was even more fun than I expected. While we were there, Sandra mentioned that the studio would be hosting a "Paint a Pet" fundraiser for the Arizona Humane Society, and my ears perked up.
So a few days later, I found myself back in the studio with Sandra and her fabulous team. When the Arizona Human Society's Waggin' Wheels Mobile Adoption Wagon pulled up, the small crowd watched in excitement. For, inside were not only furry models for the budding artists, but adoptable models, at that. Once the wagon was parked in front of the studio, the side rolled up to reveal a wall of adorable critters in see-through kennels. The onlookers released a collective "Awwwww..." The back of the wagon said "NEW FAMILY MEMBERS ON BORD," which totally melted my heart.
Inside, Sandra and her team had set up canvases for potential adopters as well as for birthday party-goers. What a great occasion for an animal-loving tween to have a party! Sandra started the art lesson by teaching everyone how to draw the animal they wanted to paint. Step-by-step, she showed them how to form the shapes the would somehow come together into a masterpiece. What I love about Sandra is her attitude. Though she is an accomplished artist, she instructed both "spirited" moms and young animal lovers on how to create a painting to be proud of. Throughout the process, she occasionally asks "are you happy with it?" If you say you're not, she'll ask what you're not happy with and help you find a solution. Remarkable patience.
Back outside at the wagon, I spoke to Megan Merrimac, Mobile Adoptions Coordinator for the Arizona Humane Society. I asked her about the Waggin' Wheels program. She explained that since the program's inception in July of 2014, they have had over 250 adoptions out of the wagon. They bring 6-8 dogs and a couple of cats each time they take the wagon out, which is three or four times a week. Sometimes they attend events, and sometimes they just hit the road. I asked Megan if the pets had to meet any special requirements in order to board the Waggin' Wheels Wagon. She said that she always make sure the animals are good with kids. That seems understandable, as the wagon was attracting small humans like bees to honey.
At Be...An Artist that day, AZHS adopted out four animals. Pretty awesome! And Sandra donated a portion of the proceeds to the cause. We love that!
Be...An Artist has a wide variety of sessions and events geared toward children, teens, and adults. They even offer summer camps and classes for people with special needs. It's a great place to have a birthday party, as I was lucky to witness first-hand. I think my art-loving daughter, Campbell, would absolutely love to have her next birthday party there.
Have you been to Be...An Artist, yet? Or if you're not in the Phoenix area, is there anything like this where you live?
Connect with Be...An Artist on Facebook.