Thursday, April 2, 2009

Profile: Sara Harley

Sara Harley (with Cassie and Mulligan)
Editor, 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book

Over the next few months, I'll be profiling all the contributors of the 2009 Paws for Charity Art Book...sharing their stories with you. (approx 2 profiles each week). To kick it off, I'll share my own Q&A about the Art Book Project.

What prompted you to raise money for charity? I am one of the luckiest people around. I was able to "retire" at the age of 47 and now spend my time exploring my new province and home with my husband and life partner John. I wanted to do something to contribute back to society...sounds corny, but it's true.

Why do you use pets to assist in raising funds? We are empty nesters, and my pets are my kids. I think there is a real bond between people and their pets...a connection that only pet owners can understand. There are lots of fund raisers for animal charities. I thought it would be interesting to take the bond we share with our animals and raise funds for a people related charity. My mom died of breast cancer when I was 21, so raising funds for breast cancer charities is a personal choice for me.

You are living in a small, rural community. How did you develop your network of contacts with artists? The internet brings the world together. Even though we live in "the boonies", I have been able to discover artists all over the world and invite them to participate in this project. Having a worldwide range of talented artists creates a synergy that is unlike anything you can achieve at a local level. It's this synergy that I hope will help stir up more interest in our project than I would be able to do on my own.

How did you choose what images to use in your book? That was the toughest part of this project for me...I lost lots of sleep trying to decide what to include! Everyone was so generous in submitting their images for consideration, I really didn't want to turn anyone down. I tried to create a book with a good balance of artwork and photographs...dogs and cats...portraits and scenic images...a wide range of artistic images.

How will you measure success? I think the project is a success already....we have produced a quality book with a wide range of artistic talent. But I'll be very, very happy if we can take the product we've created and raise some funds for charity....the more money we can raise, the better!

What are your next steps for this project? The book will be available to the public next week. I hope all the participants will help in getting the word out so we can generate some sales. I'll be sending out press releases, and will be asking the participants to send me information for publications in their own locations so we can try to get some articles published in their own geographic areas. I'll be focussing on April (which is Daffodil Month - Cancer Awareness) and October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) for some publicity opportunities.

Is this project a one time effort? I've already had people asking if they can be involved next year. I'd like to publish an "Art Book" once each year if there is enough interest. But I'll take it one step at a time and focus on making our first book a success. I am working on a second book project for a more "local" charity...a "Photo Collection" to raise funds for training assistance dogs that will be published in October 2009. Between the two projects, I'll have all I can handle this year!


mkcphotography said...

Sara, how wonderful to learn more about you! I love the photo of you and the kids :-D

Dan Felstead said...

I think it is a great idea to profile the artists in the book. You have a real talent in marketing your ideas! It truly sounds like you are having the ideal retirement and more power to you.


Moose said...

I loved reading about sound like me, but we are a world apart!
Tail Wags to All

Dan Felstead said...

I received a notice today that my book will arrive on Monday the 6th! I will let you know as soon as I get it.


Julie Magers Soulen said...

It is so nice to meet you and your "kids!" I'm looking forward to helping with the promotion effort once we go "live." Feel free to ask for help!