The Secret Gallery will host an online art auction to benefit Clatsop Animal Assistance.

Every two weeks, starting May 1, the auction’s prize will be a custom and locally-made pet portrait, framed by Old Time Framing. Six auctions will be held.

The auction will be held through the gallery’s website,

Funds raised from the auction will be split evenly between Clatsop Animal Assistance and the artists. Clatsop Animal Assistance is a volunteer-run organization that helps care for animals in the Clatsop County Animal Shelter.

“We are grateful to The Secret Gallery for coming up with this very clever fundraiser and for raising money for CAA for a second year in a row,” said Marcy Dunning, the group’s president.

Last year, the gallery’s owners, Chris Minnick and Jill McVarish, decided they wanted to start a fundraiser for a local organization after they hosted the 2019 Astoria Freak Show.

“We wanted to give back in some way to a good cause,” said gallery co-owner Chris Minnick. “We’re big animal lovers so Clatsop Animal Assistance was the first organization that came to mind.”

The virtual auction takes place of an in-person dinner and auction, which the gallery had planned to host for a second time this year.

“We wanted to do the dinner again but that’s obviously not happening now because of the pandemic. We considered canceling the event because we were told this is a really bad time for any fundraising,” Minnick said. “But someone’s got to look out for the animals.”

Artists include Spence Snyder, Robert Paulmenn, Hickory Mertsching, Jill McVarish, Noel Thomas and Cassandra Kim.

“They’re some of our artists and some really amazing artists from around town,” Minnick said. “The artists are very generous to donate their time and skill to this … We’re really grateful for this collaboration.”

Where the funds will go

Auction funds will help Clatsop Animal Assistance pay for animals’ external veterinary services, and some spay and neuter costs. Funds also help the organization advertise which animals are in the shelter.

“We’re completely volunteer-run. Over 90% of our expenses go directly to the animals,” Dunning said. “This fundraiser will make a difference in ensuring that CAA meets its goals of caring for the animals.”

Pet adoption

The shelter is still in operation, taking in new animals and providing care for its current animals.

“There are still adoptable animals in the shelter,” Dunning said. “Shelter volunteers are still going to the shelter to walk the dogs and socialize the cats, and do nighttime feeding.”

The shelter is open by appointment. To meet a pet for adoption, call the shelter at 503-861-7387. A list of adoptable pets is available at

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