Eight-year old Hollister School student, Maya Lewandowski, is trying to raise over $7,000 through her Art for Animals event later this fall at the Jodi House in downtown Santa Barbara. The event will feature donated local artists’ pieces up for sale from 5:30 until 7:30 on Friday, November 18th at the Jodi House located at 625 Chapala St, in Santa Barbara. Funds raised by the event will aid in the purchase of The Santa Barbara Humane Society’s computer system upgrade.

The event came about as a result of a visit to The Santa Barbara Humane Society in January of this year. Maya and her family had recently adopted a dog and took her in to the non-profit to get spayed, when the then second grader noticed the antiquated computers being used by the staff. She commented, “Those computers are older than the ones at my school,” and decided to do something about it.

“I love animals and always want to help them. I thought that if I could help The Santa Barbara Humane Society get better and faster computers that they could help more animals,” explained Maya. So, she decided to take the same route she had taken in 2010 when she raised over $650 to help the aid efforts in Haiti. “I drew pictures of animals and decided to give away color copies to people for donations to help The Santa Barbara Humane Society.”

Unfortunately, her sales fell short of the $7,000 goal she initially created for herself. So, the youngster decided to involve more artists in her endeavor. She has asked other local artists (“real artists” as she calls them) to create and donate their art pieces for her “Art for Animals” event with the “Fall Into Winter” theme. Artists include Malcolm Tuffnell, Sue Slater, David Mark Lane, Ann McGraw, Donna C. Williams and many more.

Maya envisions the event as an opportunity to see wonderful art, buy incredible pieces for oneself or as holiday gifts, a chance to support local non-profits, and an evening of fun. There will be refreshments, music by cellist Zachary McGee and the opportunity to meet local artists, not to mention, purchase Maya’s original pieces.

Maya is an accomplished artist at eight having won drawing and coloring contests at the Santa Barbara Fair and Expo, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Goleta Lemon Festival, and The Santa Barbara News-Press. In 2009 she was the grand prize winner of a Family Fun Magazine nationwide drawing contest, and earlier this year her environmental art piece was chosen by Gelson’s Corporation as a first prize winner for all of its stores. She has used her art in the past to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, as well as designing the first t-shirt for the Kidz for a Cure (http://kidzforacure.org/) event to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

See Maya and her pieces on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw6otHo3qeU and (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw6otHo3qeU)). To learn more about the Art for Animals event at the Jodi House on November 18th, please contact Leon Lewandowski at Lewski711@gmail.com or Peggy Langle at The Santa Barbara Humane Society (805-964-4777). For directions to the Jodi House, please call 805-563-2882.


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