EVERETT — All it takes is a stroke of art to help pets in shelters.
Paws With Cause uses simple painted portraits to put faces on rescue pets to raise money for their care.
It lets people with no art training lend a hand and tap into their creativity with a brush.
Paws With Cause opened a gallery in a storefront at Everett Mall in 2019. Portraits are painted in community sessions or by appointment. Take-home paint kits are sold to create your pet portrait at home.
For painting sessions, outlines of homeless animals are sketched onto canvas in a format that all ages can master. There’s a photo for guidance and a palette of colors. Supplies are provided.
Alix Frazier, who began her philanthropy career working with Paul Allen on projects, started Paws With Cause in 2016 to get attention to older pets in need and to give seniors a creative outlet. She was inspired after painting with her mother who had Alzheimer’s to bring her out of her shell.
Frazier started out doing paint-and-sip sessions at retirement centers. The centers provided the wine and the seniors and she provided the paint and canvas.
The art projects expanded, without the sip part, to the entire population as well as people with developmental disabilities, veterans and at-risk youth.
Painters can keep their artwork or have it hung in the gallery for sale or display. Each portrait has an information card about the animal pictured.
“Because of COVID we did a pivot and also became a product company,” Frazier said.
Home painting kits are sold at the mall studio, online and at farmers markets in Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Everett.
In 2021, Frazier said her agency gave $40,000 to shelter rescue organizations.
“Through cryptocurrency donations, we were able to fund spay and neuter programs in our area,” she said.
Kathleen Shaw, spokesperson of Mukilteo-based Community Cat Coalition of Washington, said her agency received a $10,000 grant from Paws With Cause.
“Some of the paintings are of our cats and kittens,” Shaw said. “Some people if they can’t have the cat they’ll buy the picture.”
Paintings are displayed at about 30 local businesses, such as Fred Meyer stores, Sam’s Cats & Dogs Naturally, restaurants and banks. People can buy the portrait or learn more about the pet.
Custom portraits of pets are available by the Paws With Cause artist in residence.
The next community paint day is 5 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Everett Mall studio. Sessions are held monthly from 10:30 to noon on the first Saturday and 5 to 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday. All ages are welcome.
For more information, visit pawswithcause.org.