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Creative critters raise money for nonprofit helping women

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — These chickens and goats don’t have to worry about getting eaten, even with coyotes just a few feet away.

Local entrepreneur Fawn Dolan is holding the second annual Art for a Cause critters auction to raise money for the nonprofit Bound for Success, which provides free clothing for women entering the workforce and domestic violence victims. Sculpture of goats, chickens and coyotes, all decorated by local artists ranging in age from 6 to 75, will be sold.

Dolan, executive director of Bound for Success and owner of multiple small businesses, held the fundraiser auction for the first time last year with 14 painted “cabritos,” the Spanish word for “little goats.” This year, the auction has grown to 30 critters, ranging in size from 9 inches tall to 2½ feet tall.

Each one is unique, she said, and “highly collectible.”

She said the sculptures range in value from $75 to $1,295 for one of the three pieces painted by renowned artist Amado Peña, who has galleries in Santa Fe.

“So there definitely is something for every price range,” Dolan said.

The fundraiser culminates in a live auction on June 7 at Corrales Bistro Brewery, 4908 Corrales Road, but people can also make silent bids now or even buy a sculpture in advance.

Patrons can view the critters and make silent bids on the “Art for a Cause Critters Online Auction” Facebook page or at Dolan’s Corrales Hemporium, 4484 Corrales Road. The Hemporium is open for curbside service, and Dolan said she and her staff will bring the painted animals outside for potential buyers if they’re not comfortable coming inside to look at them.

Each critter has a “buy it now” market-value price, if a viewer wants to secure it immediately. Otherwise, people can make silent bids.

Silent bidding closes at 5 p.m. May 31.

On June 7, a live auction for the remaining sculptures is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. sharp, after the preview at noon. Live bidding will start above the highest silent bid.

The live auction will also include free appetizers, and beverages and other food for sale at an additional charge, according to a news release.

Dolan said she found artists by putting out a call among local businesses and in the media. She also invited artists from last year’s cabrito auction to participate again.

“This is all donations on their part of their time, energy, talent,” she said.

As for the cause, Dolan said Bound for Success runs the Nearly New repeat clothing boutique in Bernalillo. There, women transitioning from home, school or welfare into the workforce or who have been victims of domestic violence can get five free clothing items, whether professional or casual but appropriate for their role, about a $100 value.

“It really helps their self-esteem,” she said, adding that clothing is a basic human need.

She typically serves eight to 15 women per month, many of them entering the workforce for the first time. Dolan said they may also share their clothes with friends or relatives, increasing the impact.

“The items are very high-end, donated from the local community,” she said.

The store is open to everyone, and proceeds from paying customers keep the doors open, to the tune of $1,000 a month or less, Dolan said. However, Nearly New has been closed since March due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

She said that situation makes the critter auction even more important.

Local artist Monica Barela Di Bisceglie created this cool item, to be auctioned off as part of Art for a Cause.

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