Fetch-A-Sketch: Painting Priceless Pet Portraits for SASF

Art by Tiffany Bowman, Lauren DeFoto and Camille McMennamin, Images: Courtesy SASF
Art by Tiffany Bowman, Lauren DeFoto and Camille McMennamin, Images: Courtesy SASF

Our beloved pets have long played important roles in our families—serving as emotional support, motivating us to exercise, making us laugh with their antics and helping us keep a routine—and during shelter-in-place orders and self-quarantines, they’ve proven vital to the mental and physical wellbeing of many East Enders. This month, the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) unveiled Fetch-A-Sketch, a unique fundraiser to honor our faithful companions while supporting the organization and local artists who’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fetch-A-Sketch is a month-long initiative that gives pet parents a chance to transform their furry (or feathery or scaly) friends into works of art created by one of three masterful artists—Tiffany Bowman, Lauren DeFoto and Camille McMennamin. Bowman has a full-time career as a scientific illustrator and designer, but her greatest joy comes from illustrating her customers’ pets, as well as her one dog and two cats. DeFoto doubles as both a talented artist and a SASF adoption coordinator, so offering her paintings and drawings (pencil or ink) to Fetch-A-Sketch is the dream combination of her two passions. McMennamin is represented by the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Chelsea, and her figurative paintings and portraits are coveted by private collectors across America and Europe.

“This is our first endeavor year, and based on its success, we would consider doing it annually, perhaps next year featuring additional artists,” SASF Director of Adoptions Kate McEntee says, adding that its premiere has been a great “way to bring the community together while being socially distant.”

Anyone seeking to commission a piece should first select one of the three artists, the art medium they’d like and their payment information by Friday, July 10. The donation costs are per-pet, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the animals at the SASF and the rest going to the artist. High-resolution photos of the selected pets should then be sent to the artist, noting how separate photos of different pets should be combined. The finished bespoke portrait will be shipped within six to eight weeks.

This fundraiser comes at an exciting time of transition for the SASF, as they slowly begin to reopen to the public in a limited capacity. The Catios, home to the felines awaiting adoption, has recently begun accepting appointments to meet the pets in-person, and Skype/Facetime meet-and-greets with the cats will still be offered, as well. “We continue the rule of social distancing to continue to keep everyone safe and healthy,” McEntee notes. The successful Roadside Adoptions & Fosters program will continue to match dogs with forever and summer homes.

To learn more about Fetch-A-Sketch and to commission a pet portrait, visit southamptonanimalshelter.com/fetch-a-sketch. For information on the SASF Roadside Adoptions & Fosters program, visit southamptonanimalshelter.com. For the SASF in-house clinic, call 631-728-7387 ext. 266. For the mobile clinic, call 631-566-8870. 

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