How fortunate we are to have pets in our lives in times like these. Working from home with cats lounging nearby. Taking walks in the fresh air with dogs trotting by our side. In this issue, we’re celebrating our furry friends—and a few other animals, too. Here in this pet-loving region of WNC, many of our artists combine their talents with a love for animals. Two River Arts District artists that we are featuring enjoy using pets as subjects. Tessa Lang works closely with loving pet owners to create lasting works that capture their pets’ personalities. And Angela Alexander centers her life and her creative work around animals, creating commissioned pet portraits and donating generously to causes such as Mountain Pet Rescue. “Using my art to help save the lives of homeless animals is how I can make a difference,” Alexander says. We also have stories on the loving grassroots campaign that became Asheville Cat Weirdos and on Wortham Center, where puppies in training to become guide dogs get to attend marvelous performances with their handlers—and probably, unwittingly, steal shows in the process!
Some of this month’s featured Western North Carolinians doing amazing things are quite young. Two are artists: Appalachian State college student Kat Dolan, whose short film Nobody But Myself has gained national recognition, and Hannah Ray, who, at 13, is the youngest lead designer ever chosen for Hendersonville’s Bearfootin’ Bear contest. And a pair of hikers from Asheville are putting in the miles on the Appalachian Trail to raise money for MANNA FoodBank’s continuing efforts to help with hunger during these still trying times.
Don’t forget that one-of-a-kind items created by WNC’s talented artists—like Cover Artist Frederic Payet, Feature Artist Dottie Bozzetti and all of those represented by the galleries that grace our pages—make truly special gifts for Mother’s Day.
Have a great May! (And Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)
Gina Malone can be reached at Gina@TheLaurelofAsheville.com