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Pets of the Pandemic: A Benefit Exhibition

The story behind the exhibition - message from our director:

     As Covid-19 was raging through New York City, I wondered: how could we use our experience selling fine art online to help out - and bring some joy to people during these difficult times? We love animals, and I knew we wanted to help Best Friends Animal Society - the leading animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of shelter pets in America. I also wanted to do something to help artists. Small and mid-size galleries were shuttering all around us, and many artists were not only losing the chance to exhibit, they were also losing their second jobs. 

     So I conceived of an open call, inviting professional artists in the region to submit works for an exhibition, Pets of the Pandemic, to benefit the artists as well as Best Friends Animal Society. Unlike other competitions, we didn't charge an application fee - because we didn't want to burden artists. Each work had to be unique - no prints or multiples. The show would be online-only; we didn't want to worry about delayed opening dates, crowd control or being host to a coronavirus super-spreader event.  

     Internationally renowned art historian David Cohen, publisher and editor of Artcritical.com, and parent of Allegra, a 16 year old Italian greyhound, agreed to jury the competition. Artnet News did a feature on the open call. Word spread.  My assistant and I worked round the clock for several days sorting through hundreds of submissions. I had no idea what I was getting myself into - but I did know this was the kind of uplifting show we could all use right now!

     The winning artists then shipped their works to us - or they donned their masks and trekked to our Harlem brownstone to deliver the art in person: portraits of dogs, cats, a horse, a bird, a guinea pig, a fish - and even a stuffed animal! These talented artists range in age from early 20s to mid 80s. Proceeds of each sale will be split 50/50 between the artists and Best Friends Animal Society. Alpha 137 Gallery takes no profit whatsoever. 

     Pets of the Pandemic has been a Quixotic, all-consuming labor of love. These unique, original signed works are priced from $200 to $1,200 - so there are some real bargains. Plus, when you complete a purchase, you will receive a code for 20% off any artwork from the rest of the gallery, valid through 10/15/2020, as a thank you. 

     All our pets have been angels during this crisis - and I want to thank you for being on the side of the angels by supporting the artists and Pets of the Pandemic. Enjoy the show!

Nadine Witkin