Sally Mather’s vast collection of plein air landscape paintings will be the highlight of her art exhibit and fundraiser for the Ark Valley Humane Society May 13 through June 12 at the Sellers Project Space. Fifty percent of all proceeds will be donated toward building a new animal shelter in Buena Vista.

“The existing building is getting old and is in a constant state of disrepair. It needs to be updated. We’ll close the Sunshine Shelter in Poncha Springs and just have the one shelter for the county in Buena Vista,” Mather explained.

Mather is in her sixth year as a volunteer for the AVHS, contributing an average of eight hours of her time weekly. Her commitment to the nonprofit stems from a connection with animals that began in her childhood. She has fond memories of attending Saturday morning veterinary rounds with her father, who was a veterinarian for 27 years. Mather was raised among a tribe of “unwanted” animals that at times included horses, cats, goldfish, rats, turtles and a newt.

Currently, she has a black border collie mix named Izzy and, when her husband will allow it, an occasional foster dog from the shelter. “Some dogs don’t do well in a shelter but thrive in a foster home setting,” she said, noting that fostering a dog gives it a foundation for a new life.

Mather has no formal training in art other than an occasional workshop or class, although she pursued a degree in nursing and midwifery. She began painting while a young girl in Minnesota, working on an easel beside her mother, who was also an artist who favored landscapes and mixed media. “She was a very creative woman,” Mather said.

In addition to acrylic, oil and pastel landscape paintings, Mather will display a few of her recent mixed media works featuring dogs. “After being passionate about plein air for a long time, I’ve been exploring mixed media in recent years… I need to explore different avenues to stay fresh, but it’s hard to tell – I wouldn’t be surprised if I go full circle and come back to doing plein air again.”

Mather’s work is also on display at Fare Bella Studio and Gallery in Manitou Springs.

The Salida show opening will be Saturday, May 13, from noon to 6 p.m. Refreshments will be available, and the AVHS may have dogs on site available for adoption. Plans for the new shelter also will be available for viewing.

The Sellers Project Space is on the second floor of the Twitchell Building, above Cultureclash art gallery at 101 F Street in downtown Salida. Patrons with accessibility concerns will be allowed to utilize the elevator via the alley. To view more of Mather’s work, visit sallymather.com. For information about the AVHS or to volunteer, visit ark-valley.org or call 719-395-2737.