Buy crafts, support Whidbey critters

A young family meets a 7-year-old Beagle named Rook at the WAIF shelter in Coupeville.  - Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times
A young family meets a 7-year-old Beagle named Rook at the WAIF shelter in Coupeville.
— image credit: Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times

On Whidbey Island, many people can appreciate a fine piece of art. And people everywhere are suckers for cuddly animals. So it was only a matter of time before some passionate artists thought to combine the two.

Next weekend a group of artists from are sponsoring a two-day event at the Coupeville Recreation Hall benefitting the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation.

A group of seven local artists will be showcasing and selling their work, and a silent auction will be held. Each of the artists will donate 15 percent or more of his or her total sales to WAIF, and all of the proceeds from the auction will go directly to the organization.

Event organizer and painter Gerald Roberts told a little about the group.

“As a group of artists we get together and do shows, and one of the things we always like to do in conjunction with the shows is to single out a worthy nonprofit that we can donate part of our proceeds to,” he said.

In June the artists held a successful fundraiser for the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation, but this month they felt compelled to support WAIF.

“They’re a very busy organization, and they’re trying to raise funds for a new location,” Roberts said. “I think we’ll do anything to support the welfare of the dogs and cats in the area, that’s something that’s near and dear to our hearts.”

Roberts will be bringing a newer series of his to the event showcasing Whidbey Island birds. He said he gives his paintings a spirit, character and uniqueness that’s not typically found in wildlife art.

Artist Gary Schallock will also be participating in the event. Schallock said he’s been an artist his entire life, but for the past eight years he’s been concentrating on watercolor paintings. Schallock lives near Goss Lake and paints subjects mainly found on Whidbey. He paints in an expressive style using lots of brushstrokes and said his paintings are more lyrical than literal.

“As an artist, I’m always looking for opportunities to show my work,” Schallock said, “and it’s always good to be able to benefit something on the island. It seems like a win-win situation.”

The staff at WAIF couldn’t agree more. Shelter Operations Directort Shari Bibich said it’s difficult for WAIF to come by funding during tough economic times and that she appreciates the help.

WAIF Executive Director Steve Paysse added WAIF isn’t just about helping animals, it’s about helping people.

“We’re very honored,” Paysse said. “Animals unite the community.”

The event will take place Saturday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the downtown Coupeville Recreation Hall.

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