Olivia Pedrick got her big break from Facebook. The Windham resident has always loved animals; about a year and a half ago, she decided to use her artistic talents to help them. She began painting portraits of pets, selling them on Facebook, and donating the profits to local shelters. “When it started, my mom made a Facebook page because she thought, ‘Maybe Grandma could buy a painting this way’ or something,” says the 10-year-old artist. “Then she told a lot of people about it who told their friends, who told their friends. It got super big.”
Now officially called Olivia’s Art for Animals, Pedrick’s endeavor has amassed a substantial following. At press time, she had nearly 3,000 Facebook fans and had contributed money to 17 rescue organizations or shelters. The fund-raising process works as follows: For $10, Pedrick will paint a portrait of your pet based on a photo that you send her. Any money she collects within a three-month time period is then donated to one organization — which doesn’t always turn out to be animal-related: She gave some funds to Hurricane Irene relief when that disaster struck in 2011. The youngster also auctions off her paintings, and was even featured in an exhibit organized by the Ulster County SPCA last month. To date, she has donated a total of about $5,000.
Olivia Pedrick poses with some of her canine subjects
Pedrick finds cats easier to paint than dogs, since they are usually sitting down in the photos she receives, whereas dogs are sometimes “doing something weird that I can’t really get.” Usually it takes the fifth-grader a day or two to complete a painting, but when school, karate classes, and Girl Scouts started up in September, she found she could only dedicate weekends to her craft. “I have a lot of homework, but if I finish it early I’ll try to fit in as much painting as possible on the weekdays,” she says.
Recently, Pedrick discovered that she is an international trailblazer. “I got this other girl in Switzerland to do it, too,” she says. “She’s only eight, so her paintings aren’t amazing, but they’re really good for her age. I’m really happy that I encouraged her to do it.” The young artist hopes more kids will follow in her footsteps: “I don’t want to be the only one, because then there won’t be enough money for all the animals that need help.”
To donate, visit www.oliviasartforanimals.com. See gallery below for more examples of Olivia’s paintings.