Philly Rising: To raise money for organizations fighting inequality, artist creates pet portraits

Cat Parker is creating pet portraits to raise money for social justice organizations
Photo credit Courtesy of Cat Parker
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Normally, Cat Park would be spending her time doing photography and web design for the local ballet school she works at. However, since these aren’t quite normal times and her ballet school is considered a fitness facility, she’s only been working about five hours a week, and has been collecting unemployment to make up for lost wages.

As she found herself mostly unemployed and stuck at home, she felt a calling to do something meaningful in a time when so many social inequalities are being unearthed.

“I needed some sort of call to action. I was feeling like I could do more and I needed to use what I could do,” she said. 

So Park, a Tyler School of Art and Architecture graduate, started channeling her love for animals and art into pet portraits.

Thank you! Yes! $3,000 to @mutualaidphilly $5,000 in total raised. I’m swimming in dog portraits. Keep up the fight everyone and don’t lose that fire. -- I am thinking the next donation will go to Morris Home to protect the most vulnerable community. #blacktranslivesmatter

A post shared by @ catpark on Jun 23, 2020 at 12:57pm PDT

The cartoon-like portraits, which Park replicates from a photo, each take at least an hour to create.

All proceeds from the portraits are being donated to three social justice organizations: Black Lives Matter, Morris Home, and Mutual Aid.

“They are all up for the cause and of course, they like their pets, so it’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.

They’ve been in high demand since the campaign began weeks ago, and she has painted about 200 portraits so far, raising $7,000 for the three organizations.

She still has about 80 more to complete.

Since the portraits take up so much time, Park says she will have to start limiting them soon. She’s considering completing about 20 a month and continuing to donate all of the proceeds.

As for people who are looking to find their own ways to contribute to the movement, Park’s advice is to use your strengths to your advantage. 

“Use your own strengths. Your own strengths should be trusted and they can be utilized in a way for good,” she said. 

Park can be found on Instagram at @Catpark.