First there were colorful ceramic cats. Then there were brightly tiled canines. This year, instead of art of pets, Vashon Island Pet Protectors is auctioning off art for pets at its 11th annual Fur Ball on Sunday at the Open Space for Arts & Community.
Among a long slate of auction items at this year’s event, which raises a third to a half of the organization’s annual funds, are some sophisticated, shiny and downright fun dog bowls designed by local artists such as Penny Grist, Steve Roache, Irene Otis and Clare Donha.
Also on the auction lineup are four unique doghouses designed by local architects as part of VIPP’s BOWHAUS project. The doghouses will be on display at Island Lumber through Friday.
“They’re just incredible,” said Geoff Fletcher, president of VIPP. “Those are priceless. I think they’re worth thousands of bucks.”
Fletcher said that just as impressive is a lineup of vacations Fur Ball-goers can bid on this year. Auction items include some local trips and activities as well as a six-night stay in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, a one-week stay in a countryside house in West Cork, Ireland, a week’s stay at a home in Palm Springs and two weeks at a cottage on a satsuma orchard in Rheenendal, South Africa.
Of course, there’s still some animal-themed art, including a goat oil painting by Olivia Pendergast and a “bunny heaven” sterling silver and 14-karat gold necklace by Eric Heffelfinger.
“It’s the strongest auction lineup we’ve ever had,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher said the Fur Ball, one of several nonprofit auctions on the island, has become known for its fun and laid-back feel, and this year should be no different. With a theme of “The Spookiest Fur Ball Ever,” he said, the event will be decked out for Halloween and organizers hope guests come in costume. A variety of ethnic food will be provided by four food trucks.
Last year’s action brought in $70,000 for the animal rescue organization, and this year the funds are just as needed as ever, Fletcher said. Over the last 12 months, VIPP’s cat shelter took in and adopted out a record numbers of cats, offered discounts on spaying and neutering and helped get 120 animals micro-chipped.
“It’s crucial for us,” he said. “And it’s always a blast.”