Large, vibrant portraits of dogs, flowers, bunnies and horses now surround the walls of every building at the Castaic Animal Care Center.
“I think it makes it a more friendly, welcoming place,” said Karen Stepp, manager of the Castaic Animal Care Center. “It helps make people want to come to our care center and, with that, a lot of people will think about adopting. That is our main goal: to get adoptions.”
The Castaic care center was one of seven throughout Los Angeles County to receive the collection of hand-painted artwork through a partnership with Portraits of Hope, a non-profit organization run by the Massey brothers that develops one-of-a-kind motivational art projects throughout the nation.
“Portraits of Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their headquarters is based in El Segundo, California and they brought to us this project and volunteered to assist us,” said Don Barre, public information officer for the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. “We’re so excited that Bernie and Ed Massey chose us to work with them. This partnership is fantastic and has helped to make our care centers more inviting to the public.”
About one year ago, Ed Massey and Bernie Massey approached the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors with an idea to beautify animal shelters and promote public adoption through the Portraits of Hope Animal Shelter Revitalization Initiative.
The organization wanted to kick-off its national initiative in Los Angeles County because its care centers process more animals than any other jurisdiction in the United States. After hearing Portraits of Hope’s proposal, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the project in 2016.
“Making our Animal Care Centers more visually inviting through projects like this contributes to our mutual effort to encourage and promote pet adoption in our county,” said Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger in a statement.
The project also involved thousands of youth throughout the county who painted the murals as part of Portraits of Hope’s efforts to positively impact and enrich the lives of children through creative, educational projects.
As they painted together, children learned about social issues education, decision-making and visual presentation skills, personal expression, individual responsibility, goals and the power of teamwork to achieve positive change, according to the Portraits of Hope website.
The portraits were then transported to the Castaic Animal Center where they were displayed in late-October.
“Youth from all over the county… met together and they worked on the artwork themselves,” Barre said. “When we look at the artwork we know it was created by youth which means a lot more to us and the public as well.”
In the Santa Clarita Valley, the paintings have helped the public identify the Castaic Animal Center and have made it a more welcoming environment for all.
“They are able to locate our care centers from the streets where they couldn’t before when they just looked like normal buildings,” Barre said. “In Santa Carita, at the Castaic Animal Care Center, we’ve noticed the public being more excited and happy when they see the artwork.”
Overall, both Stepp and Barre hope the artwork helps promote adoptions not only at the Castaic Animal Care Center, but also throughout Los Angeles County.
“We hope to encourage and promote pet adoption at all of our Animal Care Centers and to help us find our animals’ forever families,” Barre said.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_