Arts and Entertainment

Art dogs take center stage at ‘Fur Ball’

This art dog was created by Annie Brulé. - Charles Backus Photo
This art dog was created by Annie Brulé.
— image credit: Charles Backus Photo

Unsuspecting Islanders who surf the Internet, hoping to find adorable, adoptable dogs on Vashon Island Pet Protectors’ Web site, might wind up placing a bid on one of several colorful ceramic canines currently posted on the site’s listings of available pets.

The “art dogs” — which are shown on the site alongside photos of flesh-and-blood canines up for adoption — are part of the organization’s upcoming “Fur Ball” — an annual auction that raises much-needed funds to help the nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter, fulfill its mission of caring for neglected, abandoned and sick animals on the Island.

The ceramic critters — adorned with tiles, paint and colorful glass by a group of Island artists — are also currently on view at several different Island locations, gracing display areas in local eateries and shops.

And they even made an appearance in this year’s Strawberry Festival parade, held aloft all the way down Vashon Highway by some of the nine artists who created them.

“They are really cute — they make me smile whenever I see them around town,” said Elaine Summers, a well-known Island artist who crafted two dogs and one graceful cat for the event and recruited the other artists to take part as well.

The Fur Ball, set for Aug. 14, is being billed “The Coconuttiest Fur Ball Ever.”

Islanders are encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts and muumuus to the event, where they will have a chance to bid on such items as a Martin guitar signed by Crosby, Stills and Nash, an overnight trip for six on a 76-foot yacht, lavish jewelry and many other extravagent and practical items.

But auction organizers hope the artful animals will also garner a flurry of enthusiastic bids at the event.

It’s the second year in a row Summers has spearheaded the creation of the ceramic auction items.

Last year, nine cats and one dog were created. This year, the order was reversed, because Summers said she found a ceramic form for a puppy that didn’t look breed-specific and would appeal to all dog-lovers.

“A lot of different kinds of puppies look like it when they are little,” she said.

The Fur Ball is set for 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at Open Space for Arts and Community. Tickets, $25 in advance until Aug. 12, are on sale at Pandora’s Box, Fair Isle Animal Clinic, Books by the Way, Vashon Bookshop and www.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets will cost $35 at the door. To preview some of the auction items and bid online, visit www.vipp.org.

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