by Matthew Horton-Pope, Karina Garcia, Bladimir Reyes, and Joshua Galindo
SkyPets is a cooperative group of student entrepreneurs who have learned about art and business while working in the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s “Art @ Work” program. The program, generously funded by Mr. Walter Clark, provides the resources and instruction necessary for the group to make and sell their customized artwork, pillows, and pet toys throughout the community.
When SkyPets first began last Fall, there were just eight students in the program. Now they have the support of 23 student employees. They use their art, math, writing, and computer skills to manage their business. “The most important thing that our group has learned is that if we try, we can accomplish anything,” said Matthew Horton-Pope, the co-CEO of SkyPets.
On Friday, October 4th, SkyPets participated in an art show at The Coffee Cup as part of the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk. Although they didn’t sell as much as they had hoped, they did get the exposure they were looking for. “Many people asked us what our program was about and how it was funded. We had so much to tell them,” said Karina Garcia, the co-CEO of SkyPets. The size of the location made it easier for them to speak with the customers. They were able to tell them what the company was about, and how unique each art product is. “Our art products are unique because they are made by students who use their imaginations to create custom pillows, canvases, and pet toys,” explained Garcia.
The next SkyPets outreach will be at the Dog Show Fundraiser held at the Elks Club in Orange, where the group will be selling their products and enjoying the show. They have another upcoming event at The Coffee Cup as part of the downtown Fullerton Art Walk on November 1, from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM. The group is also looking forward to selling their sugar skulls at the Dia De Los Muertos Festival at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton. The festival will be on Sunday, November 3 from 12 PM to 4 PM. Last year’s event was very successful and they hope that this year’s will be, too.
As Garcia explains, “At last year’s Dia De Los Muertos event, we sold over $200 worth of our art. We are hoping to sell even more this year.” The group is also included in the Artists’ Meet and Greet hosted by Adella’s at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center on November 14 from 12:00 PM to 4 PM. Finally, on December 14, SkyPets will be selling their products at “Christmas in the Canyons”, in downtown Silverado Canyon from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The SkyPets group enjoyed last year’s “Christmas in the Canyons” event because of its outdoor venue, many activities, and colorful holiday decorations. “There were raffles and an old fire truck. There was also a hot chocolate stand. It was very calming,” said Joshua Galindo, the manager and spokesperson for SkyPets.”