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Dog painting exhibit to raise money for Potsdam Humane Society

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POTSDAM — The Town Hall will be a marketplace of pastel paintings of local dogs in their favorite places from today until Jan. 21.

“The Dog Show” exhibit put on by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council will include 20 to 25 paintings by Potsdam artist Becky A. Harblin. She will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from the sales of her paintings to the Potsdam Humane Society.

“Artists, on occasion, will give a percentage of their proceeds to a particular cause,” said Rebekah L. Wilkins-Pepiton, executive director of the Arts Council. “It’s always great when we can help each other out and find ways to support each other.”

Painting dogs, however, was not Ms. Harblin’s first choice. She said very few artists like to do pastels or paintings of dogs.

“You’re not likely to get into a prestigious gallery with a dog painting,” she said. “It’s just the way of the art world.”

Ms. Harblin said she owns two dogs that she got from shelters. She said she knew the shelter needed money, and since she loves to paint and she loves dogs, she decided to do the exhibit.

“There are too many dogs that need homes, and the Potsdam Humane Society does a good job without a lot of money,” she said.

Ms. Harblin said that along with taking pictures of dogs in parking lots around the north country, she reached out to friends on Facebook asking for pictures of their dogs for her to paint.

Along with the photos came background stories of the dogs and their owners, which Ms. Harblin said was one of the most intriguing aspects of her project.

“I wasn’t just painting a dog; I was painting a story of love and companionship,” she said. “It became something more than I had imagined it to be.”

Ms. Harblin said that although she believes the dog owners will be interested in purchasing the paintings, she’s hoping others also will be interested in the paintings, especially during the holiday season.

“One dog can represent all dogs of that particular breed,” she said.

Although still working on some of the paintings, Ms. Harblin planned to start hanging them Thursday.

The exhibit will be open for visitors and buyers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“We can’t wait to see some of the pieces that Becky’s created,” said Alysia M. Maynard, director of the Potsdam Humane Society.

McDuff’s Tavern, 59 Market St., also will hold a fundraiser for the Potsdam Humane Society from 5 to 8 p.m. today, with music, hors d’oeuvres and raffles. Bar owner Jody Wenzel will donate 50 percent of sales that day to the animal shelter.

Mr. Wenzel said the bar holds a fundraiser for a different nonprofit each year. Since he just adopted a dog from the shelter, he thought it would be a good year to raise funds for the Potsdam Humane Society.

“I think it’s great that people are helping us out,” Ms. Maynard said. “People can go to the art show, then swing by and get some drinks.”

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