Arts Visual Arts

A Cause for Big Paws at M. Hammel Studio in July

Cause for Big Paws

Truitt’s Dogs (left), Air Superiority and Story Time (right). Marsha Hammel, artist

The Gallery at Flat Rock presents A Cause for Big Paws: Celebrating the Big Dogs Through Art and Adoption beginning with a dog-friendly opening Thursday, July 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and running through July 10. The event and exhibition, which highlights adoptable canines weighing 50 pounds or more, is the result of a partnership between the Blue Ridge Humane Society (BRHS), Barkers Anonymous and The Gallery at Flat Rock artist Marsha Hammel.

“Larger dogs typically need to work more to catch someone’s eye,” says Blue Ridge Humane Society adoption program manager Whitney Drake. “People are a lot more forgiving of a smaller dog that has a weird behavior quirk or needs more training.”

The exhibition in Hammel’s studio features a dozen of her paintings, each expressing the bond between people and dogs and created in the Modernist style using saturated color and contrasting form. Treats for both humans and dogs will be on offer at the July 2 reserved ticketed opening party, as well as an opportunity for attendees to receive an original sketch of themselves with their dog, drawn by Hammel on-site at the event.

Initial sketch. Marsha Hammel, artist

“Having been trained by two big dogs, BooBoo, a hundred pounds of sleek black love, and Pisha, a 75-pound athlete who made me work out every day whether I liked it or not, I know how thoroughly fulfilling life with them can be,” says Hammel. “BooBoo and Pisha have been gone for more than a decade, but I still love them, miss them and do what I can to help other dogs in their memory.”

To maintain proper social distancing, the ticketed event is open only by reservation to individuals and small groups. Barkers Anonymous will provide the goodies and treats for pets. Tickets are $20 each with part of the proceeds funding the BRHS mission of ensuring the highest quality of life for animals in Henderson County and neighboring communities through adoption, outreach and education.

“Large dogs tend to enrich owners’ lifestyles and encourage them to become more active because they typically have more physical needs than smaller dogs,” says Drake. “They can also add a sense of security to one’s life, but probably my favorite thing about large dogs is that they hardly ever know how large they truly are. There is nothing better than having a big dog crawl onto your lap as if it weighs ten pounds.”

M. Hammel Studio, located at 1901 Kanuga Road, will be open by appointment daily from July 3–10 for exhibit viewing. For tickets and reservations, contact The Gallery at Flat Rock at 828.698.7000 or email

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