Helping Paws Animal Shelter, Woodstock’s no-kill animal shelter, is hosting its annual Art for the Paws fundraiser through Saturday, April 22. Artwork on display at Woodstock Public Library that will be sold at an online auction to benefit Helping Paws Animal Shelter.

Since its inception three years ago, participation has increased and the event has become a treasured annual tradition for artists and philanthropists alike. Event coordinator Ravelle Schwab attributes this to dual appeals of creating art and helping animals. 

The event’s organizers, who are well acquainted with the local art scene, wanted to bring these communities together with “a fundraiser that ties into the art within McHenry County,” Schwab said. 

The format of the fundraiser is unique. In the first phase, Helping Paws distributes pre-made 6-inch square canvases to local artists for a donation of $5 to cover their costs. Artists also get a free ticket to the April 22 reception where their art will be on display. Each year, Schwab said she and her colleagues are impressed with the diversity of the artists’ submissions, including mosaic pieces, glasswork, ceramic work and photography. There are many pieces that depict dogs and cats, but any theme is welcome. Artists of all ages and experience levels participate, which results in a wide variety for buyers to choose from. 

The artwork is completed and submitted throughout the month of March, and it goes on sale March 31 in an online auction with a starting bid of $25. The auction continues through the event’s culmination, a reception at Mixin Mingle on the Woodstock Square. Attendees will enjoy food, drinks, and an opportunity to see the artwork in person and place final bids.

Throughout the month of April, artwork will be on display at the Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd St., as well as several businesses on the Square. Participation by local partners allows the shelter to publicize the event without paying for advertising. 

“It takes time to build a following,” Schwab said of Helping Paws,  a nonprofit concerned with good stewardship of donor funds. This year, this organization had calls well before the canvases were distributed asking when the event would start, so their approach seems to be working.

The night of the reception is an opportunity for artists and the public to come together in celebration of art. The money raised from this year’s event will go toward renovating the dog kennels at Helping Paws, which were built 10 years ago when the organization moved into its Woodstock facility. 

Participants can help fund this cause through art purchases or donations and by attending the reception April 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mixin Mingle, 124 Cass St. Admission is $5.

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