Pet Pawtraits for Animals In Need of Adoption

May 6, 2024 | News & Events

Future School of Fort Smith Art Students, under the guidance of Art Teacher Jessi Philpott, have partnered with the Pet Pawtrait Project to help local animals in need of adoption.

Started just a couple of months ago, Pet Pawtrait Project founder Heather Zanow has already partnered with 11 artists, local and out of state, and is hoping to gain more. Students and artists are currently drawing animals from 4 area shelters and planning to expand to other parts of the state and nationwide. As “pawtraits” are completed, they are displayed at one of four local businesses who have agreed to display custom adoption listings on their walls or in their windows.

Future School students have tackled this project with enthusiasm, with over 40 students participating and quite a few creating multiple “pawtraits”. While students will also gain volunteer hours to go towards a class credit, the real driving force behind this project is the importance of adoption and care for animals in shelters.

“These students are always stepping up to do whatever they can to help others,” says Philpott, speaking of her students’ willingness to participate. “I had so many teenagers say they wanted to help, but couldn’t draw. Despite their fears of rejection, they stepped outside of their comfort zone to help make a difference. They are more fearless and fiercely kind than we give them credit for. I might be an art teacher, but they constantly teach me how to be a better, more selfless person every single day.”

As Future School students work towards their goal of completing 100 “pawtraits,” Zanow has a lot of optimism about the potential impact of the Pet Pawtrait Project and the change it will bring. “It’s all about humbling yourself and having compassion for those who don’t have a voice. As humans, it’s our divine responsibility and calling to care for and take care of our pets, especially our dogs. They love us so much and it’s unconditional. Things need to change, people need to change, laws need to change, and we need to do better for them.

In the near future, the Project will also be creating artwork that brings awareness to animal welfare issues in society today, local and nationwide. Future School Student’s work is currently being displayed at the office of Farmers Insurance Agent Elizabeth Johnson in Fort Smith.

Do South Magazine

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