Sculptor Kristen Cliffel talked herself into a crucial part of today’s Art Fur Animals benefit. Last year, she told a coordinator that the ceramic dogs that area artists were supposed to customize for auction were so detailed, they didn’t leave much room for artists’ imaginations. Cliffel was told, “Why don’t you do it?” So she ended up designing this year’s doggie model, “Clean Wien,” which is based on Cliffel’s own dachshund, Mutt. “Wiener dogs are so funny, so ridiculous,” she says. “I think the last few [ceramic dogs] were boys, so I made her very girlie.” In addition to the live auction, which features 20 decorated ceramic dogs, dozens of artists donated work — some animal-related, some not — for a silent auction. Kimberly Engel, who does dog portraits as StudioDogface, says, “I’ve been going to this event since it started, and it’s gotten better and better every year. It’s a great cause, so I’m always motivated to donate.” There will be food from Porcelli’s Bistro (including vegan options), a donation bar, music by DJ Funk-Shway and the chance to mingle with animal lovers — some even bring their dogs. The low cost of the event (which is sponsored by the Friends of the Cleveland Kennel and now in its fifth year), $15, attracts a younger, artsier crowd than most benefits. It’s at the Galleria (1301 E. 9th St.) from 6-10 p.m. Go to friendsofclevelandkennel.com for advance tickets. — Anastasia Pantsios
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