“Paws on the Platte”

North Platte High School Art Club students have partnered with non-profit organization Paws-itive Partners, on a local art project called “Paws on the Platte” that will soon be displayed throughout North Platte. For the past few weeks, junior Gillian Allen, sophomore Jakob Fisher, and freshmen Sophia Walsh and Tori Randolph have been using their creative minds to paint a dog sculpture sponsored by Hirschfeld’s.

Paws-itive Partners representative, Jo Mayber, said she got the idea for local artists to paint sculptures of dogs for an upcoming auction from similar projects she’s seen around the country, like heart sculptures in Lincoln, Neb. and lobster sculptures in Plymouth, Mass.. “Art is a lot of different forms to a lot of different people. It’s an incredible variety,” Mayber said. All together there are 27 dog sculptures, not a single one like another, with local artists and sponsors ranging from art club students to individual artists to business owners and their employees. “Sometimes it’s hard coordinating 27 different artists, and 27 different sponsors,” Mayber said. “But, it’s been totally fun.”

The Paws-itive Partners organization promotes responsible pet ownership, spay and neuter programs, and the adoption of homeless animals. “Paws on the Platte” is a fundraiser to raise money for the organization, as it doesn’t receive any city or government funding.

NPHS Art Club painted their dog sculpture, named Waf, with a specific theme in mind: Aztec. “I’d say painting it [was my favorite part],” Fisher said. Allen’s favorite part was the harness because of the pattern. “It’s pretty fun,” Allen said. “They’re all the same sculpture, but they’re different techniques and different creations.” Most of the art club members liked how different the project was compared to what they usually do. “It’s good team-building. We had to compromise, give a little up and get a little in return, to make something amazing,” Allen said.

While all of the artists have given their finished sculptures back to Paws-itive Partners, the dogs aren’t quite finished with their journey. Two weeks after their reveal at the Prairie Arts Center on May 4, the dogs will be staying with their artist’s for around ten days, and then will be displayed by their sponsors for an additional 10 days. This June, they will be in the Nebraskaland Days Parade, and then soon after, they will be auctioned off to raise money for Paws-itive Partners. “It’s really neat because I haven’t done much with Prairie Arts Center,” Mayber said. “Now, my world has expanded.”