Pets of The Umbrella
September 2, 2014 by Jess
The Umbrella is always full of different sorts of people, from teachers to artists to performers and more. But if you've ever come into our building, you know that there are other creatures who visit as well. Many of the resident artists have animals and some bring them to The Umbrella quite regularly. To recognize these non-human Umbrella goers, we decided to highlight a Pet of The Umbrella every Friday throughout the summer on our Facebook page. Now that summer is coming to a close, we've gathered together all the stories for you to enjoy and to share.
Mimsey Stromeyer, watercolorist, and her dog Tara
If you've spent enough time in our halls, you've probably seen at least one of the Pets of the Umbrella. Every Friday this summer, we'll highlight one of these loved creatures. This week, it's Tara.
Tara belongs to painter and watercolorist Mimsey Stromeyer. You can find them both here nearly every day, up in Mimsey's studio on the third floor or down on the porch.
Tara is a skittish sheltie who is more likely to hide behind Mimsey than let you pet her, but she may be convinced if you have a carrot or a chip. And even if you don't get to pet her, she's a beauty just to look at!
Ellen Gaffney, illustrator, and her dog Keller
This sweet labrador/golden retriever mix pup can almost always be seen at the top of the steps of the third floor at the Umbrella Arts Center. Ellen Gaffney brings him along whenever she works at the studio, which she sublets for six months of the year from fellow artist Louise Arnold.
Keller's friendly and calm personality probably comes from his training to be a service dog, though he ultimately decided he wasn't cut out to be a full-time worker. There are a few reasons why he loves visiting the Umbrella: he gets to play and run at a nearby field and he is surrounded by dog-friendly staff, artists and children.
One artist in particular, Madeline Evans, always has a biscuit waiting for him; as she would in the past when Keller would play with her dog, Brown. If you ever stop by the Umbrella, be sure to visit the third floor where Keller may be wagging his tail, waiting to say hello!
Kayo Burmon, printmaker, and her dog Toby
Although he doesn't visit The Umbrella often, (due to his carsickness and springiness), his rare appearances are always a treat for everyone, including himself!
Artist Kayo Burmon recalls the mishap in which the curious Toby ended up with a Prussian Blue snout and Cadmium Yellow paws after checking everything out in her studio and visiting his other artist friends on the third floor. He's a true artist and loves The Umbrella as much as we do.
Kayo writes, “Toby makes me a better person. He is love and devotion dressed in fur. His curiosity and interest in all the world is contagious and that is a wonderful thing for an artist
Suzanne Hill, potter, and her bird Oscar
Oscar Wilde is my blue - crowned conure. He is a very sweet little blue and green parrot who loves nothing more than riding on my shoulder as I work in my studio or teach my ceramics classes. He has in own cage in my studio that we call the condo. He lets me know when he wants to retreat for some down time. He also enjoys gallery openings. Oscar is very comfortable being in the midst of a crowd of talking laughing people. I think its like being in a flock of chattering birds, only with Oscar, his flock is human.
I am always amazed at how relaxed he is at the Umbrella. He's been coming with me since he was quite young, about 11 years now. A conure's lifespan is about 35 years, so he will probably outlast many of the dogs!
He's very sociable, though he does make decisions about who he will go to. He will sit on a stranger's finger as long as that person is comfortable and not fearful. He may even try to converse! His favorite phrases are "hello", "what are you doing?" and "Wanna play peekaboo?"
Barbara Willis, weaver, and her dog Flora
Flora LOVED to come to the Umbrella with me.
Every morning she would watch me getting ready to go to my studio, following me around the house, and if for some reason I wasn't able to bring her with me, she looked so sad - and sulked. On Wednesdays, when Suzanne Leibich had her yoga + class in the Dance Studio, Flora and I would come through the Dance Studio to go into my studio. Suzanne would say, "Downward facing dog, Flora." And 4 out of 5 times (or thereabouts) Flora would go into Downward dog.
The students in Suzanne's class would clap and make 'happy noises', and Flora, I kid you not, would grin. (She had a lovely grin. ) She loved the attention and we all loved seeing her downward dog
Sing Hanson, photographer, and her dog Scout
This is Scout, a two-year old black lab mix pup. Scout is joyous, loving and totally irrepressible. She is an Umbrella Dog in Waiting.
Why does Scout love to come to the Umbrella? Because Max works with sticks there. Sticks are one of Scout’s favorite mediums.
Why can’t Scout come to the Umbrella? Because of the sticks.
Scout hopes to become an Umbrella Dog Intern next year.
Her life goal is to be able to jump up and kiss everyone at The Umbrella on the lips.