Animal Artists Flex Their Paws for a Cause

News Date: 
Mon. 05/02/2011

The latest exhibit to grace the Riney Fine Arts Gallery is more primal than most we’ve seen. Some might even call it animalistic – literally.

Art lovers will be able to get acquainted with the creative natures of the Sedgwick County Zoo’s resident artists: Billy the gorilla, Lucille the chimpanzee, Talali the tiger, Marbles the chimpanzee, Bibi the black rhinoceros, Kramer and Gerrard the ring-tailed lemurs, Daisy the orangutan, Roscoe the Tayra, and of course Cinda and Stephanie the African elephants.

The exhibit will hang in the gallery until May 31. Paintings will be available for purchase. Proceeds from the exhibit will benefit the Sedgwick County Zoo.

The top zoo artist is Billy, the western lowland gorilla, who was born Oct. 17, 1990, at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. He weighs in at 425 pounds. He has been painting for more than four years as just one of his favorite forms of enrichment. Others include puzzle-feeders, ice blocks, barrels, nesting material, boxes, blankets and sheets.

Another artist, Lucille, passed away in 2010. Zoo officials say Lucille found her inspiration early in the morning, when it was quiet. She enjoyed munching on apples while she created.

The painting sessions where the animals produce these works, are a form of enrichment that allows them to exercise control over their environment, enhance well-being and demonstrate species-typical behaviors.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. For information on this exhibit or any other fine arts event at Friends University, contact the Fine Arts Box Office at 316-295-5677.

For more information
Fine Arts Office