Animal Shelter Faq’s 2017-07-03T17:33:11+00:00

FAQs and Background

Promoting Pet Adoption through Animal Shelter Revitalizations | Public Art, Civic Education, Creative Therapy, Community Engagement | A Portraits of Hope Initiative

What is the project?

This latest Portraits of Hope public art and civic initiative is a continuation of the program’s large-scale, national projects which have involved tens of thousands of children and adults in civic collaborations that have visually transformed public settings and symbols ranging from airplanes, lakes, buildings, tugboats, and the New York City taxi fleet to LA’s coastal lifeguard towers, race cars, blimps, laundromats/lavanderias, and frontline fire and rescue vehicles, by working with organizations from NASA to NASCAR.

Portraits of Hope very recently received a unanimous and bipartisan vote of approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for our proposal to beautify and visually revitalize animal shelters in Los Angeles County. The approval was spearheaded by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl of the 3rd District and signed on by Supervisors Ridley-Thomas, Knabe, Antonovich, and Solis.

This will be the beginning of a national POH initiative to promote pet adoption by making animal shelters more inviting places for the public.

The initiative will have all the traditional and beneficial elements of Portraits of Hope: Creative Therapy sessions for children in hospitals and persons with disabilities; Civic Education and public policy sessions in schools; and Community engagement opportunities for the public at large. Together, we will all make animal shelters much more colorful and attractive; drive more people to the shelters to adopt companion dogs and cats; encourage the public to learn about responsible animal care; and call attention to the thousands of young people involved in the initiative.

We selected LA County first because the county contracts with 49 different municipalities and processes more animals in its shelters than any other jurisdiction in the U.S. — more than 80,000 animals a year. The county shelters are very large and we anticipate that each individual shelter will involve between 1,000 – 2,000 POH participants who through their involvement at POH sessions will help create tens of thousands of square feet of hand-painted 2D and 3D art elements and all-weather art panels for the interiors and exteriors of LA County shelters. We hope to involve a great number of shelters throughout the country in the next 2 – 3 years. And we anticipate adding more shelters and cities very soon. This is a major POH initiative and for LA County alone we expect to include between 8 – 10,000 participants.

The artwork installations will begin and be completed during the first quarter of 2017. From late August 2016 until the installation phase, Portraits of Hope will conduct formal programmatic sessions during the week for schools, hospitals, and social service groups. On weekends, POH will conduct public sessions for youth and adults who wish to participate. The vast majority of sessions will be held at Plaza El Segundo near LAX.

As in other Portraits of Hope projects, the animal shelter effort is a privately funded initiative supported and led by civic-spirited foundations, businesses, and individuals who share the projects themes and goals including

Why did Portraits of Hope choose animal shelters for its next major project?
Traditionally, Portraits of Hope selects public settings, venues, and symbols for its visual makeovers that people take for granted or have come to expect will continue to be “the same as its always been” and provide children with the opportunity to vibrantly transform them into major public art works or places of destination. Children who have been involved in previous POH projects deserve much of the credit for inspiring the shelter initiative. During the civic leadership/public policy education sessions that are part of POH sessions in schools, students have routinely conveyed that animal welfare is one of the top issues of concern to them; additionally, we have long noted that dogs, cats, and other animals are often portrayed in the drawings of children in hospitals. There are thousands of dogs and cats at shelters at any given time that could use a loving home. But shelters are often plain, non-descript, and not generally inviting places of public destination. Making shelters colorful, visible, inviting, and attractive destinations through the participation of the public itself is a POH formula for getting people to the shelters and hopefully getting many visitors to go home with a new pet.

Why Los Angeles County?
Portraits of Hope has involved thousands of children and adults in previous LA-area public art and civic projects including its Summer of Color lifeguard tower project, which culminated in the visual transformation of all of LA County’s coastal lifeguard towers for 31 straight miles. Teaming up with the County for that was a great experience. We selected LA County first for the shelter initiative because the county contracts with 49 different municipalities and processes more animals in its shelters than any other jurisdiction in the U.S. — more than 80,000 animals a year. The county shelters are very large and that gives us an opportunity to serve and involve thousands of youth in programmatic sessions in schools and hospitals. Also, POH’s home base is LA.

We approached Supervisor Kuehl of the LA County Board of Supervisors who introduced the concept to the other Supervisors and to the LA County Department of Animal Care and Control which operates the shelters. The LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the initiative. Joining Supervisor Kuehl in support were Supervisors Ridley-Thomas, Knabe, Antonovich, and Solis.

Who Operates the Los Angeles County Animal Shelters?
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control operates the shelters. 49 different municipalities contract with the department and utilize its services. Among the services DACC provides to the public are: Pet Licenses, Vaccinations, Microchips, Spay & Neuter, Facility Licensing, Adoption Programs, and Emergency Response.

POH very much looks forward to working with DACC in the coming months and we expect that the LA County shelters will set the standard as the POH initiative expands nationally. animalcare.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/acc

When does the project begin?
The interior and exterior art installations for the LA County shelters will take place the first quarter of 2017. Prior to the exhibition, Portraits of Hope will lead structured programmatic/collaborative sessions for children and adults at schools, hospitals, and community venues that will include creating the hand-painted artwork. Program sessions for children and adults begin at Plaza El Segundo in late August 2016 and will continue until the installation phase begins.

How many children and adults will be involved in the project for the LA County shelters?
Because of the large size of the shelters, we believe that a minimum of 8,000 people will be directly involved for LA County’s shelters. The majority of participants will be children who participate through their schools, hospitals, and social service programs.

What happens in the school sessions and what grades are involved?
Before they paint a brushstroke for the public art creations, Students in grades 2 – 12 engage in Portraits of Hope interdisciplinary education sessions in which students learn about why the initiative is important and how it developed; they then review, assess, discuss, and communicate their thoughts on a variety of social issues affecting their communities and the world, including: civic leadership, education, health care, the environment, foreign aid, pluralism, national security, senior care, and animal welfare. The role of individual and societal interests and responsibilities; decision-making; and the power of teamwork and collaboration to achieve positive change is central to the learning activities. The larger art collaboration is a hands-on effort to demonstrate tangibly the power of community teamwork and civic interaction.

What happens in the hospital sessions and how do seriously ill children or persons with disabilities participate?
For children in hospitals and persons with disabilities, participation in POH projects serves as creative therapy. Special Portraits of Hope brushes and methodologies have been developed for children and adults with illnesses and physical disabilities, including telescope brushes for those in wheel chairs or attached to IVs, shoe brushes for people unable to manipulate a brush with their hands, and fruit-flavored mouth brushes for kids and adults with limited or no movement in their limbs. For persons who are blind or visually impaired, Portraits of Hope utilizes special textured paints.

How large is a school, hospital, or community session?
Each POH school session is 2.5 hours and involves between 40 – 70 students. POH conducts morning and afternoon school sessions. Hospital sessions can vary from 5 – 80 children depending on the hospital and parents, siblings, and staffs often join in. Community sessions are typically every Saturday and Sunday at Plaza El Segundo and range in size from 30 – 150 persons.

What are the art motifs for the shelters?
Large, vibrant, hand-painted panels for the walls, building overhangs, and other surfaces, and 3-D art elements will give the shelters a new, upbeat, inviting and very identifiable look. Art motifs to be included – flowers, shapes, animal themes: The floral motif is a core visual element of POH as the flower is a universal symbol of life, beauty, hope, inspiration, nature and renewal; the shapes motif is symbolic of children shaping the future; and the animal theme is directly related to the settings themselves. For some sections of the shelters, smaller art elements will be combined as part of a larger installation.

How long can the artwork last?
The materials we are using can last anywhere from 3 – 10 years.

How is the project funded?
As in other Portraits of Hope projects, the animal shelter effort is a privately funded initiative supported and led by civic-spirited foundations, businesses, and individuals who share the project’s themes and goals and who provide the opportunity for thousands of children and adults — many dealing with significant life challenges – to participate in our educational, creative therapy, public art, and community initiatives.

As soon as the project was formally approved, we knew we had to generate partnerships and support very quickly to be able to meet the anticipated program schedule and installation timetable. Fortunately, some terrific partners and supporters stepped in to help push forward the initiative. We are extremely grateful that support for the animal shelter public art and civic initiative is being led by:


Maddie’s Fund, one of the nation’s premier foundations in the animal welfare sector, committed right away to join and support the initiative. Maddie’s Fund is recognized as a leader in supporting, funding, and promoting pet adoption at shelters throughout the United States. (www.maddiesfund.org).

In the words of Maddie’s Fund’s Amy Zeifang, Executive Leadership Team, “This is a fabulous opportunity to harness the power of art to connect people with homeless pets. This artwork will represent that special bond between them. Research shows that 33 million people plan to acquire a pet this year, and only 7.2 million pets need to find homes.” She continued, “This math is easy and we wholeheartedly believe this initiative will positively enhance the image of animal shelters in Los Angeles County, attracting the community to choose the shelter to adopt a pet, while also calling attention to the thousands of young people and community members who made it all possible!”

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million directed toward increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie’s Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them great joy. Maddie’s Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat. #ThanksToMaddie.

Niagara Cares, the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, played an instrumental role in the success of The Spheres at MacArthur Park public art and civic project and was a key partner in assuring the direct participation of more than 10,000 children and adults for that POH initiative that culminated at the historic lake. Niagara Cares, which is dedicated to providing enriching opportunities to children across the U.S. — many who are vulnerable and deal with significant medical and day to day challenges – committed their support for the latest POH initiative soon after learning about the project approval. Kristen Venick, who heads Niagara Cares, comes from a pediatrics hospital background and has personally participated at POH youth sessions; “We are so excited to work with Portraits of Hope again, to help revitalize animal shelters in hopes to encourage pet adoption, while providing a unique and innovative way of educating children in schools and hospitals. Niagara Cares is proud to support a project in our surrounding community in which our Team Members can make an impact.”

Niagara Cares provides Niagara Bottling staff and their families across the country opportunities for community volunteerism and engagement and POH looks forward to involving many Niagara Bottling plants in the shelter initiative.

Niagara Bottling www.niagarawater.com, founded by Andrew Peykoff Sr. and now led by Andy Peykoff II is one of the largest family owned and operated bottled water companies in the United States. #NiagaraCares #NiagaraWater

The Goldrich Family Foundation has been involved in many POH projects over the years and family members have volunteered on nearly every one of them. Sisters Melinda and Andrea, Andrea’s husband Barry and their kids have been hands-on at hospital, school, and community sessions in CA and CO. The first lead grant POH received after the approval of the shelter project came from The Goldrich Family Foundation. Because of their history with POH and their shared bond for the core elements of the project: serving children in hospitals and schools, visual art, and animal welfare, they offered to help propel the project at its inception recognizing the importance of providing initial funds. In addition to their grant, family members will again be helping hands-on at sessions and we are grateful for their support and partnership.

The Foundation was started by their late father, Jona, who embraced civic commitment and social responsibility on a global level.

Federal Realty Investment Trust – Since public participation in Portraits of Hope projects is substantial, the location and quality of our headquarters — the hub of our activities – is a very important element. Thanks to the continued civic spirit of Federal Realty — and as in The Spheres at MacArthur Park project — we will be headquartered at Plaza El Segundo for this latest POH undertaking (on Sepulveda just south of LAX and near the 105 and 405). This is a key development for POH as the vast majority of school and public sessions for the shelter revitalizations will be held at Plaza El Segundo except when we are off-site for hospital sessions, special social service sessions, or working with far-away communities or cities. Anyone involved in The Spheres at MacArthur Park project knows that an appealing and spacious HQ site with easy access to food, shops, and major thoroughfares is a great benefit. plazaelsegundo.com/

Vista Paint previously partnered with POH for the Summer of Color coastal lifeguard towers project and recently for The Spheres at MacArthur Park. Thankfully, Vista will again be joining with Portraits of Hope for this latest civic initiative. Vista has generously committed to providing POH with as much of their paint as needed to revitalize as many animal shelters as possible. And their paints are excellent. Denise Berube, Vista Paint ambassador, is often seen helping out at POH youth and community sessions and the Vista team overall volunteers with POH regularly. When not helping POH projects pop with color, Vista paints can be seen on major urban projects including the restoration of UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, LAPD Headquarters, The Hotel Bel Air, and various major museums, hospitals, and commercial centers. www.vistapaint.com/

What groups will be involved?

Portraits of Hope traditionally involves hundreds of schools, hospitals, social service programs, after school programs, and scouts in its major projects and additionally provides engagement opportunities to the community at large including college, senior, and professional groups. Programs that POH has served in the past and that are likely to be involved for this initiative include The Braille Institute, Special Olympics, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, various children’s hospitals, and Mychal’s Learning Place. For the new initiative, LA County Department of Children and Family Services will involve many of its foster children.

Except for hospitals, the vast majority of schools and programs will participate at our HQ at Plaza El Segundo, not far from LAX.

How much does it cost schools, hospitals, social service and community programs to participate?

There is no charge. POH does not charge any educational, medical, social service, or community group.

How are groups selected to participate?

Groups that wish to participate should contact us right away at poh@portraitsofhope.org. We traditionally reserve a spot for schools, hospitals, institutions and groups that have participated in previous projects. However, there are always new groups that are part of every project. Recommendations are often made by government offices and our partners.

How can others get involved?

There are many types of involvement opportunities – from active participation to providing skills related to social media, website design, photography, video production, media, publicity and promotion, fundraising, partnership development, transportation, truck services, engineering, tech services, and construction/installation to name a few. If a person has a particular skill that they believe can be helpful to POH, they should contact: poh@portraitsofhope.org

Where will the sessions take place? Plaza El Segundo?

Sessions will take place at our HQ at Plaza El Segundo in El Segundo (on Sepulveda just south of LAX and near the 105 and 405). We are next to YogaWorks and The Counter restaurant. To participate in a session please email: poh@portraitsofhope.org.

So there is no painting at the shelters themselves?

There is no painting at the shelters themselves. The painting is done off site. All the artwork will be transported to the shelters for installation.