The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 1, 2014

Mike Pound: Cocoa’s art rooted in Jackson ‘Pawlock’

It has been a while since I stopped by the Maple UnCommon Hotel and Gallery in Columbus, Kan.

It has been such a long time, in fact, that I couldn’t remember how long. If you can’t remember how long it has been since you’ve been somewhere, it’s a safe bet that it has been a while.

But after talking to Laura Greene on Monday afternoon, we determined that I was last at the hotel in 2008. Laura and her husband, Mel, own and operate the Maple UnCommon, 120 E. Maple St.

At that time, I drove over to Columbus to take a look at a neat collection of Nativity scenes that Laura and Mel had on display in the hotel lobby. I learned back then that the Greenes love to support the area art community, and they often turn the lobby of the hotel over to various artists and community organizations. Thus the word “gallery” in the hotel’s name.

On Monday, I drove to the Maple UnCommon to meet an artist whose work will be on display this weekend.

The artist’s name is Cocoa. Normally, I’m not a fan of artists who go by just one name. Usually, one-name artists tend to take themselves a bit too seriously. But since Cocoa is a dachshund, I decided to cut her some slack.

Cocoa is owned by Steve and Cindy Head. The couple both dabble in art, and Cocoa has spent many long days attending art shows and has been exposed to art for most of her life.

One day, the Heads rolled out a canvas in Cocoa’s pen, poured out some paint and let the dog’s creative impulses take off. The result was actually pretty good. I don’t know much about art (although in college I dated a girl who was an art history major), but Steve told me that Cocoa’s style is rooted in the works of French Impressionists and the American painter Jackson Pollock. Only Steve didn’t say “Pollock”; instead, he said “Pawlock.”

I apologize for this, but Steve said it, not me.

If you want to get a look at Cocoa’s painting, which is titled “Begging for a Treat,” and meet the artist, you can do so from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the lobby of the Maple UnCommon.

Cocoa will be one of a number of area artists who will be displaying animal- and pet-related works at a kid-friendly art show and fundraiser to benefit All God’s Creatures Shelter and Rescue in Columbus.

Local veterinarian Melinda Mayfield heads up the shelter, and she sort of took the job out of necessity. Like many small towns, Columbus doesn’t have the resources to fund a full-time animal control department, which means stray dogs and cats pretty much are forced to fend for themselves.

Operating for the most part out of Melinda’s office, the animal rescue project takes in and tries to find homes for about 400 animals a year. Recently, the rescue group was given a van to use, allowing volunteers to deliver rescued animals to other pet organizations across the country.

It’s a neat group, and Melinda and the other volunteers at All God’s Creatures Shelter and Rescue should be proud. They’re doing good things.

All of the artwork on display Sunday in the hotel lobby will be for sale, but the highlight of the show likely will be Cocoa’s painting. Her acrylic masterpiece will be sold via an eBay auction that will run from April 6 through April 16. I don’t know much about eBay auctions, but Steve said the number for bidding on Cocoa’s painting is 331157448699. I’m told that eBay folks will know what that means.

In addition, prints of Cocoa’s painting will be on sale Sunday for $10 apiece.

For information about Cocoa and the auction, go to www.facebook.com/cocoa.artist.

You may also visit the Maple UnCommon Hotel’s Facebook page.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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