Los Angeles Animal Shelters to Receive Grooming Makeover

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved the Portraits of Hope next project – revitalization of the county animal shelters through art.  The shelters will be groomed to welcome and invite people looking to adopt a dog, cat, or other pet. Portraits of Hope will begin the initiative in Los Angeles and expand it nationwide.

In 1995, brothers, Ed Massey and Bernie Massey founded Portraits of Hope, which was “. . . developed initially for seriously ill and physically disabled children, the 501(c)(3) program conceives and develops one-of-a-kind motivational art projects that merge the production of dynamic public art works with creative therapy for hospitalized children and civic education for students of all ages.”  Visit the Portraits of Hope website.

Portraits of Hope - children's perspective

Portraits of Hope – children’s perspective

I had the pleasure of meeting with volunteer, Carol Detrick, at their studio in Plaza El Segundo.  Federal Realty generously provides the space.  The studio is the perfect place for children to paint and they really love to paint.  But as Carol explained, it is not just about painting.  First the children participate in a civics class.  The children are divided into small groups and asked if given a $100 how they would use the money to improve their community.  They appoint a spokesperson to speak for their group and they draw a picture of their idea.  Then they share their ideas with the entire group.  After that let the fun begin – they paint!

Portraits of Hope is all inclusive, if the children cannot come to them, they will take their creative therapy program to children.  Portraits of Hope has developed and incorporated specialized brushes and painting methods, which include telescope paint brushes for children and adults in wheelchairs or attached to IVs, and they can provide flavored mouth brushes for those with limited or no movement in their arms and legs.  They even came up with the brilliant idea of shoe brushes (U.S. Patent) for children and adults who cannot manipulate a brush with their hands, instead they can paint with their feet, doing a little dance step at the same time.  Portraits of Hope can also accommodate visually impaired by placing pumice on the canvas so the painter can use the rough edges as a guide.  Watch this video of these innovate ways they make painting accessible to all who want to paint.

Portraits of Hope begins the animal shelter revitalization in Los Angeles County, not only because it is their home base, but because of the huge number of animals, 80,000 annually, that go through the system.  There is a great need to do everything possible to find homes for these pets and Portraits of Hope revitalization with art will help.  Portraits of Hope anticipate that each individual shelter will involve between 1,000 – 2,000 participants and they expect to add more shelters and cities in the future.  They are looking for help.  They are a privately funded organization who is looking for individuals, foundations, and corporate partnerships and, of course, volunteers to assist with this undertaking.

Spheres at McArthur Park in Los Angeles

Spheres at McArthur Park in Los Angeles

Portraits of Hope has completed several projects over the years, including spheres at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, taxis in New York, firetrucks in Colorado, race cars for NASCAR, and lifeguard stations in Los Angeles, just to name a few.  The artwork is bright, colorful, and energetic and will be a great addition to our animal shelters to help dogs, cats, rabbits, and birds find forever homes.

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