Calderdale RSPCA transforms act of vandalism into stunning artwork

The RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield & Bradford’s Charity Shop in Hebden Bridge hoped to start 2022 on a positive note after a difficult two years of lockdowns and uncertainty.

By Abigail Kellett
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 9:16 am
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 9:16 am

Things were going well until the shop was cruelly and selfishly vandalised at the end of January.

Shop manager Charlotte Atkinson was heartbroken to see the graffiti as she arrived to open the shop that morning.

Being a local, independent branch of the RSPCA, all profits raised from the shop normally go towards the ongoing care and rehabilitation of the animals in their Halifax based Centre. However, due to the graffiti the charity would have to use their funds to cover up the mindless mess instead.

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Calderdale RSPCA transforms act of vandalism into stunning artwork

But deciding to turn a negative in to a positive, the RSPCA and their very supportive shop landlords Clare and Paul Buxton, came up with the idea to put their own stamp on the blank space.

Shop Manager Charlotte Atkinson said: ‘’Sara Abbott is a professional, talented artist and a renowned and respected supporter of charities and organisations working on the front line of animal welfare and environmental protection.

"Abbott’s studio is now situated in Hebden Bridge and we were delighted when she accepted our invitation to create a piece of urban art on the outside of our RSPCA shop in central Hebden, at no cost to the charity.’’

Abbott is well known for her incredible canine and equine portraits which she creates to commission for clients around the world.

Calderdale RSPCA transforms act of vandalism into stunning artwork

From each of these, part of her fee is donated to rescues and sanctuaries where the distant cousins of her subjects find themselves. Last year she created a body of works raising funds for a wild bird rescue in the Highlands and in the past has worked with a host of different charities including the RSPCA, raising thousands over her twenty-year career.

Artist Sara Abbott said: "I’m very chuffed and excited to have been asked to create a new public work for my adopted town, the work will incorporate all the elements I love, our beloved pets, native mammals and birds and whatever else I can squeeze into the space, incorporating them all into a vista inspired by the town and surrounding countryside, a landscape that I’m so inspired by and can’t stop painting!"

This piece of public art is created in advance of her up-coming solo show of large, contemporary Calder Valley landscapes at ‘Creative with nature’ in Todmorden, an exhibition in support of ‘Slow the Flow’ and she will be opening her studio as part of the ‘Hebden Bridge Open Studio’ weekend at the beginning of July.

The RSPCA are delighted with the final piece and for Sara Abbott generously sharing her talents with the local animal charity and the Hebden community.

Calderdale RSPCA transforms act of vandalism into stunning artwork

An added bonus to the artwork is that it also includes Shop Manager Charlotte’s cat Ice and landlords Clare and Paul’s dog Bert as the main stars of the piece.

The local community and tourists are encouraged to take photos of the stunning creation and tag in the charity on social media to help continue the positivity and also raise awareness for the animals in their care.

Calderdale RSPCA transforms act of vandalism into stunning artwork