Pet society

Whimsical Animal Portraits Raises Funds and Awareness for Local Animal Shelter | arts and culture

BRATTLEBORO — Eight-year-old Lina DeAngelis has five pets at home — two cats, two dogs and a rabbit, plus a guinea pig at her grandmother’s. So she’s no stranger to what’s going on in animal care.

That’s why, after raising money for the Windham County Humane Society through curricular and extracurricular activities, she wanted to do more for the organization.

The Academy School third-grader drew animal portraits for $15 each to raise money for the shelter. So far she has raised $275 and now has four portraits on order, which will cost an additional $60.

She draws on 5″ x 7″ canvases with artist-grade markers. The brightly colored designs have a cartoonish charm, whimsically incorporating aspects of animal life (and their humans). Lina said she asks her customers for information such as their favorite color and their pets’ favorite toys or blankets. A portrait shows a rock star cat with a guitar, because the human is a musician. In another image, a dog named Paris is drawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. And in another, a dog no longer with us is depicted as an angel, along with a favorite toy sheep, also an angel.

“It’s different from selling raffle tickets or something. She really brings her personal touch,” said Lina’s mother, Amity DeAngelis. “She’s really trying to make it somehow relate to the life of the owner, or the life of the animal, and make it more personal that way.”

Amity’s parents, Sue and Jeremy Aldridge, are both artists, and when caring for their granddaughter, art is a big part of their work.

“It’s kind of hard not to get into drawing when they have 10 million art supplies in their house,” Lina said.

Lina already has an artist’s perfectionism — sharing her designs with Vermont News & Media recently, she noted that she wishes some details came out differently.

“She works more on animal portraits than on her drawings for fun,” her mother said. “And it’s always exciting to go and deposit the money at the Humane Society.”

Maya Richmond, executive director of the Windham County Humane Society, said as a locally funded charity, it means a lot when someone hosts a special fundraiser or uses their talents to benefit the organization.

“It helps in a number of ways,” Richmond said. “It generates money to feed the animals and take care of them. But it also creates public awareness and, perhaps, reaches people that we could not reach ourselves. So I really think that it’s phenomenal. I appreciate everything she does.”

Richmond said the shelter not only accommodates animals and prepares them for adoption, but also offers veterinary services for pet owners in financial difficulty.

“So each of these departments relies on donations,” she said.

Although Richmond has yet to meet Lina in person, she is a fan of her work.

“I saw her work,” she said. “The work was magnificent.”

For more information or to order a pet portrait, visit “Lina’s Pet Portraits” on Facebook or email [email protected]

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