Arts & Culture

Upcoming art fundraisers to help animals in SLO County

Erin Aiello’s painting of a red-tailed hawk will be Pacific Wildlife Care’s silent auction item.
Erin Aiello’s painting of a red-tailed hawk will be Pacific Wildlife Care’s silent auction item.

Making a living in art is often an uncertain career path — add to that the fact that many artists donate their work to support local causes, and it is clear that community well-being drives many a creative heart.

There are two art-focused fundraisers happening this month that are collecting money to help animals through two local nonprofits. At Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay, the focus is on rehabilitating wild birds to be released back into nature. At Animal Shelter Adoption Partners or ASAP, volunteers work with San Luis Obispo County Animal Services to get animals adopted.

PWC is having its seventh annual Windows into Wildlife fundraiser with its featured silent auction item, a painting by Erin Aiello that depicts a red-tailed hawk feeding its young. Meg Crockett from PWC gave an example of the nonprofit’s work that needs the public’s support.

“On Feb. 11, Pacific Wildlife Care released a golden eagle in Atascadero on the ranch of Tom Mora and Connie Elder,” Crockett said. “Tom discovered the injured eagle there last September. He called 543-WILD, the hotline for Pacific Wildlife Care, so the golden eagle could be cared for at our facility in Morro Bay. An examination revealed a break to the ulna, near the elbow of his wing. Surgery was performed by Dr. Shannon Riggs, our director of animal care. She used long and short pins and a bar to protect the wing and stabilize it during healing. She also knew that the larger flight feathers might fall out with this major injury to the bone. Thus, rehabilitation and care involved not only waiting for the break to heal, but for the flight feathers to grow out again.”

After many months of healing at both PWC and the Ojai Raptor Center, it was time to release the bird in Atascadero. “The eagle took several running hops to get airborne,” Crockett said. “What a joy to see this huge, amazing bird flying back over the land he knows so well, but had been separated from for so long.”

With domestic animals, it’s quite a different story. Rather than finding homes in the wild, they need humans with whom to live. Three artists, Pat Siemer, Jade Herrera and Judy Ellis, of the Cayucos Art Association are giving 10 percent of all proceeds to ASAP in their show, “Reigning Cats and Dogs.” “Judy Ellis, who has fostered more than 40 dogs and works with ASAP, suggested this organization,” Siemer said. “ASAP helps Animal Services get animals adopted by making the Rescue Me videos shown on TV. The three of us thought that ASAP made a very positive impact on helping animals get adopted.”