Thanks to the generous support of people and organizations that share our passion for animals, HeARTs Speak is able to provide member artists with the resources and tools they need to prioritize their work in the animal welfare community. Kaye Ness is our third featured recipient of the HeARTs Speak ‘Helping. Artists.’ grant.
Kaye is a long-time photography volunteer of KC Pet Project in Kansas City, who were also a finalist in our Perfect Exposure Project! Since becoming a HeARTs Speak member in 2012, Kaye has photographed approximately 700-800 animals for the shelter, which has an intake of nearly 9,000 animals a year.
Since July of 2012, KC Pet Project has managed to place 90% of the animals in its care, and a large factor of that improvement is the high-quality imagery provided by Kaye. We knew Kaye would put her ‘Helping. Artists’ grant to powerful use, and she recently updated us on how it helped her extend her reach.
“I am so honored to be a recipient of the stipend grant! KC Pet Project is the largest, open admission no-kill shelter in Kansas City and 4th largest open admission no-kill shelter in the United States. The shelter is always over crowded and looking to get animals adopted so room can be made for the more than 8,000 pets that come through each year. It is vital that the animals get a professional picture so that staff and volunteers can work their online magic to bring awareness to each animal. It can be very challenging to get the perfect picture in such a short amount of time but the photographers and helpers work really hard to help them look their best for the glamour shot!
I really try to focus on capturing the animals personality whether it’s playing fetch in a play yard or giving hugs to a volunteer. Another way I am able to help them look great is to accessorize the animal with pretty collars, ties, bows and bandanas. It’s amazing what a pop of color can do to a picture and with a portion of the money I was able to replenish my supply! I took a pet photography workshop and learned some new tricks and techniques to improve my skills.
Although the hours we put in every month can be emotionally and physically exhausting I can’t imagine not giving back to the thousands of homeless pets in Kansas City who rely on me to help be their voice.
I look at the pictures on my computer monitor when I get home and it always reminds me why I keep going back. So many people looking for pets can’t handle going into a shelter and start their search online or they saw a friend cross post an animal on Facebook. Many times the reason an adopter came in to see a specific pet was because of the picture they saw online. I’m very proud to be volunteering for an amazing shelter and be part of an organization like HeARTs Speak that supports artists helping animals.”