“Pets of the Pandemic” Brings Animal Art to Your Screen

By Jennifer McKee

The source of playfulness, affection and unconditional love, our pets are already valued members of our families. But in the time of a pandemic, they’re a true salve that can reduce stress, lighten our mood and just in general improve our world view. 

Best Friends Animal Society has brought that love and comfort to light in its virtual exhibition “Pets of the Pandemic,” in which professional artists in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania submitted original portraits of pets that helped them through quarantine and lockdown. 

The exhibit, which runs online through October 15, can be seen at https://alpha137gallery.com/pets-of-the-pandemic-a-benefit-exhibition/. People can purchase the one-of-a-kind pieces at price points from $200-$1,200; all money raised supports the artists and pets at Best Friends.

Unlike most open art calls, “Pets of the Pandemic” call didn’t charge an entry fee. Several hundred artists responded; about four dozen were chosen. The competition was juried by art historian David Cohen, publisher and editor of artcritical.com, and the pet parent of Allegra, a 16-year-old Italian Greyhound with his own social media following. 

Portraits include Claire HarnEnz’ “Quarantine,” which reflects her feeling of being isolated with her rescued horse, Steely, and Diana Kurz’s Chihuahua Dix Dixie, who Cohen commended for being “as adorable as a Renoir child portrait.” Susan Baus’ collage “Kiwi and the Sunbeam” focuses on how animals help support people with mental illness.

The exhibit and fundraiser was the brainchild of fine art professional and proud cat mom Nadine Witkin, who wanted to bring joy to people during these difficult times, as well as help artists and animals. 

Photos courtesy Claire HarnEnz, Diana Kurz and Susan Baus and Alpha 137 Gallery

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