On Saturday, July 9th, transFORM hosted a fundraising event for the Humane Society of Westchester, bringing in over 100 guests to our New Rochelle Showroom and Gallery.
The opening reception “Rescue Me” featured 16 artists from across the region, plus a gal from Idaho. The animal themed show represented both wild and domestic animals, from lions, tigers and bears, to cats, dogs and roosters – created in a variety of mediums.
Back in April, transFORM Gallery extended an open call to artists for animal themed artwork. After receiving dozens of applications, the transFORM Gallery committee made their selections for the upcoming show and were pleased to welcome the new work of B.F. Sheperd, Nicole Molinari, Miriam Schulman, Susanne Reece, Bruce Withers, Laura Yager and Amelia Jones to our juried exhibition.
“Rescue Me” also featured artwork from transFORM Gallery’s standing artists, Alexander Rutsch, Paula Barragan, Jesse Sanchez, Kathy Rutsch, Alexa Grace and Anita Lobel.
B.A. D’Alessandro, Pasquale Miele and Lubomir Tomaszewski contributed to the sculpture portion of the show, while Gina Kingsley added four fused glass pieces.
In an effort to raise awareness for the compassionate care and treatment of animals, transFORM Gallery teamed up with the Humane Society of Westchester, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating living environments that are not just shelters, but a transitional home for stray, lost, abandoned, injured, and abused animals, until they can ultimately be placed in loving permanent homes. Through promotion of successful pet adoption, animal population control, and public education of animal welfare issues, HSW advances our belief that pet ownership is a lifetime commitment.
A big thank you to Beverly Royal, Keri Sershen and HSW volunteer Sheila, for bringing some furry friends to the opening reception. Guests of all ages enjoyed playing with foster kittens Yankee, Doodle and Grayce as well as Doggie Ambassadors, Lexie and Sweetums.
Local pups, Bandit and Cooper added to the great animal vibe of the event.
Art Gallery Director, Kara O’Neill started the artist’s talk by thanking everyone for coming out and supporting the artists, the gallery, and most importantly the Humane Society.
“10% of the proceeds from the sale of all the artwork, not just animal themed, will go to the Humane Society, along with money generated from the pony rides and carrot and dog biscuit sales.”
She then turned the floor over to our pony ride sponsors, Lower West Side Homecare and SERVPRO of Scarsdale/Mount Vernon.
The two companies worked together to provide $5 pony rides for guests throughout the day. Hillary Sheperd owns and operates SERVPRO of Scarsdale/Mount Vernon with her husband and exhibiting artist, Forrest (B.F.) Sheperd – “We do dirty jobs. We may have a super storm Sandy, a hurricane or a fire but typically we’re dealing with the children who put a “GI Joe” down the toilet of a 3rd floor town house and cause a top-down river rain throughout the home. On what could be the worst day of your life, we try to save your sentimental items, we take care of the things that matter most. We get you back in your home and back to your life.”
Lucia Pons of LWS Homecare explains her family owned business best, “We are a licensed home care company. We take care of newborns all the way up to the aging and elderly. We have physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, visiting nurses and aids that can assist you at home or in the community. We prevent people from going into a nursing home and get people out of the nursing home from New York City to Dutchess County.”
After learning more about our sponsors, Kara brought the focus back to our exhibiting artists by asking each of them to describe the inspiration behind their animal themed work …
Jesse Sanchez – “My cat is my inspiration, he was a rescue who opened up a whole new thing in my life. He’s a great pal, a great companion. I started looking at animals a lot differently. I started thinking more about animals and how valuable their lives are. My cat feels love, he feels pain and he’s my main inspiration for painting animals… plus I had mice so he helped with that too!”
Bruce Whiters – “I spent a lot of time working in Lancaster County, PA. I was fascinated by these animals that were all over the place and I realized that cows are really moving art, especially black and white cows. There are no two the same and they are a painting themselves.”
Forrest Sheperd – “It’s not that I love animals, it’s that I hate vegetables…kidding. As far as the animals go, their ultimately home. Never in my life have I been without an animal in my family. Right now we have a small menagerie and at times a large menagerie. They have always been there. The image, the form, the undivided attention that animals provide – I have found my landing.”
Gina Kingsley – “I love animals and sometimes I think I may love animals more than humans. I’m the kind of person that cries over roadkill. I’m very passionate about animals… and glass!”
B.A. D’Alessandro – “I usually take some shapes, mostly triangles and I start putting them together and stuff happens and fortunately an owl occurred. That’s when I decided to submit my pieces to the show.”
Nicole Molinari – “My family’s always had pets, they’ve always been a part of my life so what better inspiration. I love realistic paintings.”
Amelia Jones – “I’m exhibiting in a style of chinese brush painting. There’s a whole genre within that style of bird and flower paintings, so one of my paintings is a bird and flower painting. One is a painting that I made for my cousin’s baby and it’s a homonym of her name, Mazie Bee. So, the corn and bees were created for her. The baby panda is more of a whimsy painting because I just like pandas.”
Anita Lobel- “All the paintings that are in this show are the exact same size as they appear in my books. I didn’t always like doing animals, I used to prefer doing people in costumes, but being a children’s book illustrator, I had to learn to like doing animals. I’m still not good at dogs but eventually my husband and I acquired cats. I then really learned the psychology of a cat. The cat I really love, hence my two cat books Nini Here and There and The Cat & The Cook. I also love drawing pigs. Pigs are easy, you can dress them up or dress them down. Horses not so much.”
In addition, Anita hosted a “Meet and Greet” book signing with a large selection of her children’s books, including Caldecott Honor Winner, “Taking Care of Mama Rabbit”. Guests really enjoyed speaking with her and having a personal message written in their Anita Lobel book.
Maria and Pasquale Miele, owners of Saccone’s Pizzeria – New Rochelle’s go-to place for specialty pizza, amazing soups and homemade Italian ices – generously donated catered food for the event.
Pasquale Miele is also one of the exhibiting artists showing fanciful wooden animal sculptures and oils on board and canvas.