Every cover of The New Barker features an original piece of art by a different Florida artist. Over the last seven years, a cult-like following among dog and art lovers, has bestowed collector’s item status on many of the original works of art chosen for the magazine’s covers.
Generally, the cover art is selected from a substantial portfolio of artists on file at the publication’s office. “The process is daunting, terrifying and exciting, all at the same time,” said Anna Cooke, Editor-in-Chief. “There are so many talented artists in Florida. Our cover is the cornerstone of our vision—The Art Of Dog™ —and as such, awarding it is the most important decision we make. Of course, as ‘the cover as art’ tradition has become our defining signature, so too have expectations (in our minds) that each cover live up to that billing.”
Anna and her partner/husband Steve Cooke, who is the Publisher of the magazine, donated an upcoming cover to the Humane Society of Sarasota for a fundraising event. During the live auction portion of the 8th Annual Paws on the Catwalk, the item was the first to be presented on the auction block. A starting minimum bid of $1,000 quickly grew to $2,500, igniting a bidding war that electrified luncheon participants. The winning bid of $5,000 drew a spirited round of applause and a chorus of cheers. The frenzy continued as guests enjoyed outbidding each other on auction items such as cruises, spa packages, vacation getaways and adoptable pets. Yes, a couple of homeless dogs from the shelter found their forever homes as bidders opened their hearts as well as their wallets.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota played host to the sold-out event that included specialty boutiques for shopping, a luncheon, entertainment and a fashion show. Co-chairs Chris Voelker and Alex Miller are already working on next year’s event, promising to raise the bar in attendance and money raised. The 2014 event raised a little more than $110.000.
After meeting with the winner, who has three Golden Retrievers, a photo shoot will be scheduled. The photos will be given to a selected artist to begin working on the cover art, scheduled for a 2015 edition of The New Barker. Afterwards, the original portrait will be presented to the winner of the auction item.
The New Barker is a Florida-based lifestyle magazine all about dogs and the humans who love them. Feature stories cover where to stay, play, dine, travel and just have fun with dogs in Florida. Currently in its eighth year of publishing, the magazine reaches upwards of 30,000 readers in print each quarter.