ART IS POWERFUL BECAUSE IT EMPOWERS THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE
Inspired by a large new wolf sculpture located at the entrance of the Zoo’s new $15-million Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit, the El Paso Zoo has launched a new Art as a Conservation Tool program inviting students in the El Paso, Texas – Juarez, Mexico region to participate in a project that will shine a light on the Mexican wolf and the actions underway to save the species from extinction with a focus on Texas. Over the past year over 20,000 zoo visitors signed Sierra Club letters asking Texas Parks and Wildlife to support a wolf reintroduction effort.
PARTICIPANTS ARE INVITED TO USE CREATIVE RESOURCES TO CREATE ART, SCULPTURE, TEXTILES, COLLAGES, WRITE A POEM OR STORY, VIDEO, OR AUDIO TO CREATE A PIECE OF ART THAT REFLECTS THE MEXICAN WOLF.
Thirty miles northeast of El Paso you can see 3,000 cave pictographs painted by hunter-gatherer archaic people. The Hueco Tanks art depicts animals and activities of a life thousands of years old; it provides a visual legacy of the human desire to document their environment and understand their place in it. Art can illuminate how we see the world and move us to express how we experience and appreciate nature.
Artwork exhibiting wildlife or wild habitats has the power to create an emotional connection between people and animals and has the power to move people to action. For example, a photograph or painting of an elephant may excite you and inspire you to see one in a Zoo or in its natural habitat. Now imagine seeing a piece of art that shows an elephant killed for its ivory tusks or a photograph of their burning habitat. This may make you sad or angry, but it might also inspire you to sign a petition to change the laws protecting elephants.
The El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources while creating opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature. Spending time exploring, observing or doing activities related to the outdoors can invigorate our connection with nature and inspire a lifelong stewardship for wildlife and our surroundings. Though awareness and knowledge are not enough to cause long-lasting behavior changes, they can provide a basis or readiness for learning and participation.
This is where you come in! Individually, in small groups, or as a class, the El Paso Zoo invites you to participate in a project that will shine a light on the Mexican wolf and the actions underway to save the species from extinction. Using creative resources create art, sculpture, textiles, collages, writing a poem or story, video, or audio and consider including recycled materials, to create a piece of art that reflects the Mexican wolf.
Your piece can focus on the challenges wolves have faced throughout history, the work that is being done to save them from extinction, or why you think wolves are important and need to be saved. Use your creativity to show the beauty of the Mexican wolf!
Get to know your wolves! Before you start your art project, learn about the history of the Mexican wolf, what conservation efforts are in effect right now, and what the El Paso Zoo is doing to save Mexican wolves. A few helpful links are included here, but encourage your students to do their own research or teach a short lesson about wolves and wolf conservation:
Return the Wolf to Texas website
El Paso Sierra Club Take Action Page
US Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Information
The new wolf in the sculpture at the Zoo is made from three blocks of Colorado sandstone each weighing about 8,000 lbs. The blocks were carved individually then stacked for final shaping. As a part of the process, the artist’s team studied the Mexican wolf and the Chihuahuan Desert to develop an understanding of the place and its inhabitants. In this way, they hope that the art not only accurately portrays the environment but also inspires the viewer to learn more about this precious resource. For example, the Mexican Wolf is a part of the larger Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem and relies on the other species of the desert to survive and thrive. The stones that surround the wolf sculpture contain images of other species that live with the wolf and that rely on each other. These plant and animal relationships showcase the interdependence of the species within the desert community:
- Agave (century plant) and the Mexican long-nose bat
- Yucca and the yucca moth
- Blue gramma grass, deer, and the wolf
When one of these species is threatened or disappears, the entire balance of life in the ecosystem is in danger.
PROJECT TIME: Deadline December 31, 2020
After researching the Mexican wolf, it is time to start your art project. Art is not only painting or drawing. Art can include making a video or podcast, creating a sculpture, utilizing unconventional materials, etc. Your project should be a reflection of the Mexican wolf and its conservation. You can use recycled materials or found materials (go on a walk or hike and pick up trash along the way to use in your art piece). Once you have completed your artwork or media piece, contact the Zoo Education Team to arrange to bring it to the Zoo when we reopen to be displayed or presented in our Party for the Planet art show and film festival in April 2021!
RULES AND INFORMATION:
By submitting any artwork to the El Paso Zoo, entrants accept and agree to be bound by the official rules for participation in Wild at Art: Art as a Conservation Tool exhibition.
- Eligibility: Any 1st – 12th grade student in the El Paso, Las Cruces or Juarez area may submit artwork that must be original. Computer-generated images and traced images will not be considered for exhibition. Submitted artwork must not be overly derivative of images found on the Internet, in print media, or elsewhere to avoid copyright infringement.
- Art Categories: There are multiple categories to choose from and not limited to this list – drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, photography, written word, mixed media and short video/audio (2-5 minute time limit). There is no limit to the number of art pieces submitted per school.
- Grade Divisions:
• Grade Levels 1-6 (Division 1)
• Grade Levels 7-9 (Division 2)
• Grade Levels 10-12 (Division 3)
- ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:
• All artwork must include complete entries containing the name of entrant, age, grade level, name of school, names of parent or guardian, mailing address, email address, telephone number and the full names of the art teacher or home room teacher and teachers email.
- Entries must be accompanied by an “Artist’s Statement” of at least 10 words but no more than 200 words. The artists statement communicates what inspired the work, how it relates to the theme, and the content of the work. Both the title and the artist statement must be the work of the student who creates the work.
- Affix Artist’s Statement to the back of entries when possible. Entry information and “Artist’s Statement” for video entries may be submitted via title screen in video or typed on paper and submitted with USB drive loaded with video.
• Use of copyrighted material (images) or trademarks (company names, logos, brands, etc) is prohibited except for background music in video production entries. If used in video/audio production entries, background music must be cited in the work and on the entry form. Plagiarized entries will be disqualified.
• Content must comply with all local and national laws of the United States.
Content must not 1) promote illegal behavior; 2) support racial, religious, sexual or other invidious prejudice; 3) advocate sexual or violent exploitation; 4) violate rights established by law or agreements; 5) invade the privacy of any person; or 6) be otherwise inappropriate as determined by El Paso Zoo Education Department in its sole and conclusive determination.
SUBMISSIONS must be received by December 31, 2020.
All entries become the property of El Paso Zoo and cannot be returned.
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