Charity event showers love on pets

By Michael Hart - For the Daily Sentinel

This stained-glass painting pays homage to furry friends in a mosaic style.

Potential bidders toured the varied exhibits at “Growl Gallery.”

POMEROY — The first ever Meigs “Growl Gallery” surpassed even the organizers’ expectations.

The fundraising art show raised $1,500 in just over two hours, with proceeds given to the revitalized county dog shelter. More than 80 individuals attended the event, which was deemed such a success that planning for an annual show has already begun.

During the Sunday afternoon event, the ballroom of Wolfe Mountain Entertainment hosted an auction benefiting the new Meigs County Canine Rescue and Adoption Center. Paintings and creative crafts of all themes were bid upon, with a tilt toward dog-related exhibits.

“We had things of all sorts, from paintings of animals to nature to Batman,” laughed organizer Josephine Hill.

Meigs County Dog Warden Coleen MurphySmith was not one of those surprised by the turnout.

“One of the wonderful things I’ve learned is of the deep love the people of Meigs County have for dogs,” she said. “We could not function as we do without the involvement and donations we receive. I am constantly touched by how many people of all ages and walks of life love and worry over our dogs at the center.”

Dee Cummins, assistant dog warden, enthusiastically greeted patrons and said, “The quality of the art is unbelievable. We have such talented and generous contributors.”

Games and refreshments engaged the attendees of all ages and high-quality quilts were raffled during the show. Kathy Thomas treated the crowd to live piano music.

Meigs High School students, under advisor Joani Powers, provided the legwork in setting up and closing down the show.

“These students were part of the CARE Club and often go to the shelter and help take care of the dogs there,” Hill said. “They went above and beyond helping tonight.”

The brief auction brought in more than $1,500, a figure Hill hoped for but did not expect.

“I knew it was a little-off-the-wall idea, but I just knew it could do a lot of good if we made it happen,” she said.

Hill explained her longtime love of animals and of reading about a cat-themed art show in Columbus earlier this year. She was inspired by the novel idea and began recruiting locals for support.

Yvonne Scally and Rita Matthews were part of the gallery team and were present alongside Hill during the May 26 Meigs County Commissioner’s meeting. The trio thanked the many parties involved in making the trial run a success.

“Such a variety of artists from all over the area and even up into Athens donated their works. You can tell it was a good cause just by that,” they said.

Primary funding for the dog shelter and kennel programs in Meigs County come through licenses and fees, which Commissioner Tim Ihle said typically wanes through mid-summer.

“When we get to the end of those funds, county money has to cover the rest,” he said. “We love to hear the community getting involved to help these animals.”

The board further stated dollars brought by special fundraising events would be put toward specific needs of the shelter rather than being absorbed into the general fund.

“It’s our responsibility to keep the lights on. This money is direct from the community,” the board stated.

The organizers gave the board a glowing report on the evening and said they intend to host another Growl Gallery next year.

Hill happily declared, “After all the response from the attendees and the merchants and artists involved, we can’t wait to make it bigger and better next time around.”

This stained-glass painting pays homage to furry friends in a mosaic style. stained-glass painting pays homage to furry friends in a mosaic style.

Potential bidders toured the varied exhibits at “Growl Gallery.” bidders toured the varied exhibits at “Growl Gallery.”

By Michael Hart

For the Daily Sentinel