Store offers pet food, chew toys and… Art?
Scraps Dog Bakery has always been a place that would set a dog to drooling, what with all of the freshly baked biscuits and high quality foods, not to mention all of the toys made to be chewed on. But since its move to Brickelltown in September, Scraps has become more of a holistic store for pets and their owners alike, and owners Christy Cranmer and Michelle Shumway have begun incorporating more products aimed at the human customers who come into the store.
Not only can pet owners purchase books and magazines on pets, pet nutrition and all sorts of other topics, but there are animal-themed greeting cards, handbags, and now artwork prominently displayed on all the walls. In fact there is so much art hanging on the walls these days that it almost feels like one is walking into an art gallery that just happens to sell pet food and toys on the side.
Currently there are paintings for sale by three local artists, all of which fit in nicely with the pet-oriented theme of the business. Asked how she finds artists to feature in the store, Cranmer claimed that the artists actually find her.
Paintings by Kings Beach artist Sara Smith, Truckee artist Luthea Thomas and Grass Valley artist Kathryn Wronski have found their way onto the walls at Scraps, and all three women bring an intense love of animals to their craft as well as a desire to give something back to the local community.
With that goal in mind, the three artists are currently donating a portion or all of the proceeds from the sale of their paintings to the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe.
Thomas’ paintings, available for sale at Scraps, feature her dog Dixie, who was adopted from the Humane Society early last year. Dixie was found abandoned as a puppy, along with four of her sisters, in a box near Boca Reservoir.
“They were in very bad condition,” Thomas said. “They were covered in fleas and dehydrated.”
Nursed back to health at Sierra Pet Clinic, all five puppies eventually found loving homes in the area, and according to Thomas, Dixie has turned out to be a very inspirational subject for artists.
Indeed, not only did Thomas paint Dixie’s portrait, but Smith and Wronski and one other artist all painted renditions of Dixie that can currently be seen hanging on the walls at Scraps.
While some dogs might feel a bit overexposed with all that attention, Thomas claims that Dixie hasn’t even noticed. “She’s just like the happiest, sweetest, most gorgeous thing in the world,” Thomas said.
Thomas hopes the “Dixie Show,” as she calls it, will help raise awareness for the work the Humane Society does in this area as well as raise some much needed funding for the organization.
“Partly the inspiration for this show is to pay Sierra Pet Clinic back for their work and to pay the Humane Society back as well,” she said.
Thomas and Scraps will both donate all of the proceeds from the sale of Thomas’ paintings to the Humane Society.
Kings Beach artist Sara Smith has had her work showcased at Scraps since the new store opened.
Smith painted the mural of the dogs romping in the snow that visitors see as they walk in the store. More recently she has turned one of her paintings of local golden retriever Daisy into a signed and numbered series of prints that are currently available for sale at Scraps and the Artruckee Gallery in Truckee and at the Bolam Gallery in Tahoe City.
Apparently the appreciation for the Humane Society within the artistic community runs deep, as Smith has also pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Daisy prints to the organization.
“Ever since I started getting serious about making a living as an artist, it’s always been really important to me to feel like I’m bringing something back into the community with what I do,” Smith said, adding that “to be able to incorporate aspects of fund-raising into what I do is just thrilling to me. It makes me really happy.”
Smith has been an artists ever since she could grasp a piece of chalk and crawl around on the sidewalk; however, she didn’t get into painting animals until more recently.
After painting her own dogs and hanging the pieces in her house, Smith was discussing painting a portrait of a couple when they noticed her dog paintings and asked her if she would be willing to paint their cats. Smith agreed, and quickly discovered her love of working with animal subjects.
From that point on her enthusiasm for painting animals has only grown; as has her list of admirers, one of whom is Scraps owner Christy Cranmer.
“Christy has been so incredibly supportive, ever since I started,” Smith said. “She was one of my first commissioners. Her support was something that really helped inspire me to continue with going in the direction I’ve gone, which is to become a full-time self-employed artist.”
Cranmer, whose home features a number of Smith’s works, recently purchased the original painting of Daisy that was made into the print series.
While she is becoming somewhat of a patron of the animal-oriented local arts, giving back to the community is nothing new for Cranmer or her partner in Scraps, Michelle Shumway.
“We really like to bring the community in to Scraps,” Cranmer said. “We have seven stores now, so it’s not really about the money anymore. We really like to reach out to the community. We’re very involved with the Humane Society, very involved with Alpine Meadows’ avalanche dog team – we supply them with all their foods – and we support the artists as much as possible.
“From the moment we got to Truckee it’s been great. The people here demand quality and I think that’s what we offer… So now we’re incorporating artwork. We have everything else of good quality, we might as well branch out into other venues,” Cranmer said.
Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe President Georgia Smith was grateful for the financial support generated by Smith’s and Thomas’ work.
“I just think it’s great,” she said. “Luthea has been a long-tine supporter and volunteer with the Humane Society and I’m just so pleased that she’s organized this thing. And Sara Smith is also a Humane Society supporter and is donating proceeds from the sale of her golden retriever poster.
“To me it’s very welcome financially, but it also shows us the support that we get from the community, which is as valuable or more valuable than the dollars that we make. The community, by going to Scraps and by looking at the artists pictures and buying them, is just showing its support for us,” Georgia Smith said.
“We feel lucky that there are so many pet lovers in Truckee, which in turn helps us with our mission of saving and adopting out homeless pets,” she added.
Artist Sara Smith agreed:
“This whole community is so dog oriented and animal oriented, and for me, it’s just a wonderful place to be because I have been all my life… I’ve always loved animals, and it just feels so right to me to be surrounded by so many people for whom their dogs are a part of their lives. They’re more than just pets, they’re part of the family – they’re traveling companions and play companions,” she said.
For more information on any of the artwork hanging at Scraps, stop by the store at 10250 Donner Pass Road in Brickelltown, or call 582-5044. For more information on Sara Smith’s “Daisy” print you can contact the artist directly at 546-5501 or email@example.com.
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