Animal center, art guild to collaborate

A collaboration between the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) and the Rancho Santa Fe Art Guild will provide a world of new art to decorate the expanding animal facility.

A private donation is funding the facility expansion. The completed project will include four buildings, including an equine center and an animal hospital, on the 12-acre property.

Three of the buildings will be new and one will be renovated, and the administration building will be constructed first. The project will take three to five years to complete, and a groundbreaking date for the facility expansion has not yet been set.

Kathryn Holt, co-owner of Bliss Interiors in Rancho Santa Fe, leads the design project. Holt was planning cost-effective ways to create a beautiful environment for the staff, the visitors and the animals when she met Dr. Tim Lueker, president of the Rancho Santa Fe Art Guild. Lueker indicated that the guild was open to the idea of showcasing some of their artists’ work at the newly expanded center.

“This is a win-win situation; it would provide great visibility for the artists and, at the same time, HWAC wouldn’t be charged for it,” Holt said. “We’re now working with the guild to determine which pieces we’ll use inside.”

While the collaboration will predominantly feature animal-related art, Holt said that some of the art works may also depict children and elderly people because so many of the center’s programs involve those age groups. The designers may also offer contests for local elementary schools where students could submit themed art and the winners would have their work featured at the center.

“The Helen Woodward Animal Center does so much with animal welfare and incorporating the community into their efforts, whether it’s children’s or elderly programs,” Holt said, “Our team wants to give the project a practical, functional, yet whimsical sense to it.”

Besides focusing on the center’s interiors, the Bliss team also wants to create inspiration for the gardens and landscaping. This may include a meditation garden for visitors who have just lost a pet.

“There could be a beautiful little garden or sanctuary area where they could visit,” Holt said. “We may incorporate some mosaics there and add fun signs and mosaic inlays to help people navigate between the dog, cat and horse areas.”

Bliss Interior’s Web site will post updated progress and photos of the project from both a construction and a design perspective.