High School Artists Aid Animal Adoptions

High School Artists Aid Animal Adoptions

A partnership between students, an animal rescue group and a coffee shop are helping cats and dogs find new homes. About 40 student-artists from Wantagh High School created portraits of animals up for adoption at Last Hope Animal Rescue, right across the street. And those drawings and paintings are on display a mile up the road at Starbucks.

Art teacher Jaclyn Gentilesco worked with shelter volunteer Joanne Anderson to get pictures of dozens of cats and dogs looking for homes. Students in Ms. Gentilesco’s drawing and painting classes then chose an animal to transform into a piece of art. The masterpieces were hung at Starbucks on Wantagh Avenue. 

“The students loved doing something that had a purpose,” Ms. Gentilesco said, noting that many of the animals have since been adopted. She added that her artists could work with whatever materials they wanted.

Sophomore Jackie Mundy illustrated a dog named Abbey using oil pastels, and learned that Abbey soon found a home.

“I enjoyed doing the project because it helped get the dog adopted,” she said. “It makes me feel good and hopefully it made the family happy.”

Molly Graff, a 10th grader, selected a short-haired, black and white cat named Jason and created an oil pastel painting. 

“I can use my talent to help the animals,” she said. “I’m using my strength to do something good.”

Maylani Lee painted a brown dog with white paws named Kailee. After experimenting with a couple of different mediums, she created her final project with acrylic paint and a palette knife, which she said best captured the texture of the dog. 

Ms. Anderson said this was the second year of the partnership between the art students and Last Hope and is grateful for their hard work. Together, she said, the paintings and drawings form an impressive display for all in the community to see. 

“The effort of the students in amazing,” she said. “You’re teaching them how to draw and paint, but you’re also teaching them how to work with their heart.”