Miss Upstate New York gives boost to autism dog walk

Roger Coda
Gayle Petri (seated) discusses promotional ideas for the Lend a Paw for Autism dog walk with students enrolled a Music Industry course

Gayle Petri (seated) discusses promotional ideas for the Lend a Paw for Autism dog walk with students enrolled a Music Industry course.

The reigning Miss Upstate New York is delivering a hefty promotional boost to the Music Industry program’s Lend a Paw for Autism dog walk, an annual event held by HAIL! Fredonia Records, the student-run record label at the State University of New York at Fredonia that raises funds for the Institute for Autism Research.

The event, now in its sixth year, will be held in Dods Grove on Sunday, April 24, from noon to 5 p.m.

Gayle Petri, a junior art major at Ringling College of Art and Design, met with about 20 students enrolled in MUSB 420: Student Record Label on March 8 to collaborate on ways she can help publicize this year’s campaign. Ms. Petri is creating paintings to be featured in promotional posters and other media, and is also posting Lend a Paw for Autism information on her social media platforms.

Cinepaws, this year’s dog walk theme, draws on popular movies from the 1980s. Natalie Wilks, a junior majoring in Communication: Public Relations and Communication: Audio/Radio Production, with a minor in Music Industry, from Fayetteville, and Abby Morrissette, a senior Music Industry major from Staten Island, are MUSB 420 students coordinating the event.

Examining various graphic and poster ideas and developing other promotional ideas were the focus of a strategy session students held with Ms. Petri. Her guidance included selecting individual movie highlights and fun facts from films such as “The Breakfast Club,” said Karalyn Walter, a senior majoring in Music Industry, with a minor in Visual Arts and New Media, from Warren Township, Pa., who is handling graphics, visuals and the Instagram team for the dog walk.

The first sketch of the guitar that appears in the poster for the Acoustic Night promotion was also created by Ms. Petri during the session.

“She also loves the movie ‘Beetlejuice,’ so I feel like she is very connected to the theme of the dog walk, ‘80s cinema,” Ms. Walter added.

Beyond contributing art and design skills, Ms. Petri is making social media posts about the event, which she’ll also attend. “She has made multiple posts on social media so far,” Walter explained, including a few Instagram Reels that include her dog and cosplay – the dressing up as a character – from the 1988 fantasy/comedy movie “Beetlejuice.”

So far, Ms. Petri has posted her cosplay of Lydia, a character from “Beetlejuice,” at least twice on Instagram, Walter reported. And as the dog walk approaches, Ms. Petri will submit additional promotional photos and videos.

“She has also advertised an art commission opportunity, where she will draw people’s dogs in the costume of their choice in return for a donation to the Institute for Autism Research,” Ms. Wilks said.

“Posting on social media and sharing with fellow friends in the Miss Upstate New York competition will not only bring more awareness to the dog walk, but HAIL! Fredonia Records as well, which includes all bands we are working with and the students who are working behind the scenes,” Walter explained.

Music Industry Lecturer Armand Petri described the dog walk campaign as “one big social media extravaganza.” He indicated Ms. Petri, who is his daughter, will utilize her pageant platform to deliver videos and photos to promote the dog walk and the Institute for Autism Research, an interdisciplinary collaborative research center at Canisius College.

Ms. Petri will compete in the Miss New York USA pageant in June.

Raffle baskets donated by bands such as Again in May, one of four bands signed by HAIL! Fredonia Records, and local businesses will be awarded and food and drinks will be offered for purchase. Student musicians will also perform.

Photos of dogs and brief biography information will be posted on the HAIL! Fredonia Record’s Facebook page to those dog owners participating in the virtual format. HAIL! Fredonia Records is also partnering with WNY Heroes, a veteran’s support group, which is promoting the event on its social media platforms.

A registration link can be found online.

All proceeds from the virtual and campus event will be donated to the Institute of Autism Research.

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