Linda Suby works on a cat painting during Shelter Pet Portraits at the Everett Mall. The cause raises money for animals needing homes and sponsors. Painting sessions are free. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Linda Suby works on a cat painting during Shelter Pet Portraits at the Everett Mall. The cause raises money for animals needing homes and sponsors. Painting sessions are free. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A mall pet store with warm and fuzzy vibes — but no fur

Paws With Cause uses art to raise money and awareness for rescue animals needing homes or sponsors.

EVERETT — This shop is filled with pets with how-can-you-say-no faces.

Well, why say no?

Take a dog or cat home. On canvas, that is.

The only things warm and fuzzy here are the vibes.

Art is the medium for Paws With Cause, an outreach that uses pet portraits to raise money and awareness for rescue animals that need homes or sponsors.

The Everett Mall shop opened in April. Portraits are painted in public art sessions held monthly or by appointment.

Everybody is an artist. No talent necessary. Just fill in the lines.

Outlines of the animals are sketched onto 8-by-10 inch canvas. There’s a photo for guidance and a palette of colors.

Painters can keep their work or have it hung in the gallery for sale or display. Each portrait has an information card about the animal.

Jael Weinberg (right) laughs with Norma Johnson as Norma paints a cat portrait during Shelter Pet Portraits at the Everett Mall. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jael Weinberg (right) laughs with Norma Johnson as Norma paints a cat portrait during Shelter Pet Portraits at the Everett Mall. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The mall donated the store space for Paws With Cause, which has evolved in three years.

Alix Frazier, a Lake Stevens tech executive, started the cause in 2016 to bring attention to older pets in need and to give senior humans a creative outlet. She had paint-and-sips in retirement centers as a happy hour activity, with a water glass and a wine glass.

It proved rewarding for the seniors, some who haven’t picked up a paintbrush in decades, and gave exposure to homeless dogs and cats.

Frazier’s next goal was that the art be seen.

She approached veterinarians, banks and other business to display the portraits. She even scored a spot at a Schack Art Center event.

Other gallery sites include six Fred Meyer stores, typically in the hallway that leads to the restrooms.

Earlier this year, Frazier asked Everett Mall marketing manager Carol Hildahl for pop-up shop space for small business incubator GroWashington, where she’s on the board.

“At one point we deviated in this conversation about my art,” Frazier said. “Carol said, ‘Do you want to put some art up here?’ I said, ‘Yes. You’ve got great bathroom walls.’ She said, ‘I’m not thinking bathroom.’ ”

Hildahl offered to let her use an empty jewelry store in the corner of the main section of the mall. It will move to a larger mall space in June.

“It’s engaging for the community and it brings people here,” Hildahl said.

The shop is bright and airy, with glass windows on two sides that Frazier has decorated with a big stuffed dog and dozens of colorful animal portraits on the wall. At first glimpse, it looks like a place for kids birthday parties, which is an option.

The unmanned shop is open mall hours. Frazier hopes to add augmented reality with a virtual concierge that tells about the project on a smart phone.

People can take home a portrait for a donation of their choice to any of the 20 pet-rescue partners listed.

Paws With Cause has about a dozen volunteers.

Frazier met artist David Lotz, a painter, when the pet portraits were on display at GroWashington during the Everett Art Walk.

Lotz lends a hand at sessions to help with colors.

“It gets people involved in their creative pursuits and outlets,” Lotz said. “It’s a connection between animals and art. There’s a whole panoply of animals.”

This includes rats, reptiles, horses, bears and eagles. Some need funding for rehab, not homes.

Frazier is open to portrait suggestions.

“This lady asked me for a ferret, so I’ll do a ferret for next time. You can find adoptable ferrets,” Frazier said.

Linda Suby first attended Frazier’s pet paint-and-sips starting three years ago when she was at Garden Court Retirement Community with her husband, Walter, due to his illness.

“The first one I did was a dog and cat. They reminded me of our dog and cat, so I kept that one,” she said.

Now a widow living in a condo, Suby came to the mall to paint and socialize in a recent art session, where she painted a black cat, adding a teal background that made it pop.

Suby was surprised and flattered to see a photo of her in the shop window: She’s the Artist of the Month.

Marilyn Blackburn works on a portrait of a shelter cat named Lilly during a Paws With Cause session at the Everett Mall. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Marilyn Blackburn works on a portrait of a shelter cat named Lilly during a Paws With Cause session at the Everett Mall. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Marilyn Blackburn came to a recent paint day with a friend, who saw a post about the event on Facebook.

“I thought we’d get out of our comfort zone here,” said Blackburn, of Mukilteo. “It’s something different.”

She didn’t take home her detailed portrait of cat named Lilly. “I took a photo to prove that I did it.”

Blackburn didn’t plan to contact the agency for adoption details to take Lilly home, either.

“My cats don’t like new cats,” she said.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Learn more

For more information visit www.pawswithcause.org or email pawswithcause@outlook.com.

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