AMADOR CITY (CBS13) — It's a spark of good as California enters wildfire season. An Amador County couple has raised nearly $200,000 for wildfire victims with their art.
You've likely seen the image: a bear hugging the Golden State with the caption, "I love you California."
"I think the image brings out that emotion in people," said Eric Rewitzer of 3 Fish Studios.
Artists Annie Galvin and Eric Rewitzer had been making the print for years as a nod to an image on sheet music from 1913.
"I like to think that we brought it back to life and gave people that have fondness and love for California, we brought that back to life," Rewitzer said.
In 2017, during the north bay fires, the image spread through social media.
"It immediately struck a chord with people," Rewitzer said.
"We decided to jump on that attention and just use it to raise money for the fire victims," Galvin said.
Five years and dozens of versions of the image later, the married couple have raised nearly $200,000 for fire relief efforts.
"I still can't believe the number's that high," Rewitzer said.
The funds are going toward organizations from the Red Cross to food banks and wildlife rescues, and even art programs affected by fires.
"It just makes me feel like we're doing the right thing," Galvin said.
They are doing what they love to help heal the place they love.
"It's something that we like to have associated with the work that we do," Rewitzer said. "We're proud we're able to do it, and we'll continue to do this going forward."
Galvin and Rewitzer say they aren't waiting for the next wildfire to start raising funds. They have a California Wildfire Relief collection with 100% of proceeds supporting fire relief efforts across the state.
Those prints are available on their website and at their gallery in Amador City.
"This bear kind of reminds people why they love to live here," Rewitzer said.
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