This past fall, AFC launched the 3rd annual Artists for Conservation Festival, celebrating nature's beauty and diversity with a spectacular art exhibit and a host of inspiring art and environmental education programs. The event welcomed public of all ages with a variety of interests - fine art, environment and conservation. It also brought together over forty AFC artists, a small army of dedicated volunteers, and supporters including RE/MAX, Deeley Harley Davidson Canada, our gracious host, Grouse Mountain and many other supporters and patrons.
Robert Bateman returned for the third year as Festival Patron with his new original painting for this year's event - a large graphite and canvas depiction of a lion. Mr. Bateman's painting of a lion "Lion & Wildebeest Kill", is available for sale with partial proceeds supporting AFC's programs. Also joining us this year was legendary and pioneering marine artist and best-selling author, Richard Ellis to receive AFC's highest honor - the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award.
Many AFC artist members joined us during the 10-days for the opening of the exhibit and generously contributed their time to give presentations, lead workshops, and provide painting demonstrations. Festival attendees came in waves to engage with the artists both inside the chalet and outside as part of our Nature Art Walk during the second weekend. In addition, we were proud to have had the support and involvement of renowned Coast-Salish First Nations artists and conservation leaders William Nahanee, Huuyaa and Xwalaktun, Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge, OWL Refuge and many other performing and musical talents. Our team of volunteers played a pivotal role in the success of the festival covering hundreds of shifts over the 18 days on Grouse Mountain.
2013 was a year in which we built on the successes of the past and broke new ground with new pilot initiatives including a Nature Art Boat Cruise, Raptor Quick Draw, Nature Art Walk, Family Weekend, and the first annual BC Conservation Symposium. AFC's third documentary film "Art and Conservation in the Caymans" featuring 7 AFC artists and Dr. Guy Harvey launched AFC's Marine Explorers program. Our youth education program "Adventures in Art & Environment" for schools was a sell-out this year. Also the AFC exhibit was extended an additional 8 days over Canadian Thanksgiving holidays.
Looking at 2014
Each year, AFC assigns itself the task of outdoing the previous year's festival and introducing new events and programs throughout the year. Take a look at the special highlights to see how we accomplished just that. For an idea of the full range of public activities and participants that transpired during the Festival, visit the AFC Festival site and for all other programs continue browse this site. The 2014 AFC Festival dates will be announced soon.
AFC Festival 2013 Event Highlights
The 2013 AFC Exhibit is the crown jewel of the Festival. It is the finest conservation-themed art exhibit in the world, and benefits conservation worldwide. Each artwork in the exhibit has a portion pledged to a conservation NGO of the artist's choosing. 10 artworks were sold from the exhibit with select pieces now on tour at the Houston Zoo for the Elephant Campaign. Find out more.
This year over 40 new and returning artists participated in the festival events creating an amazing opportunity for the public to become acquainted with internationally renowned artists in their own backyard. Special appearances by Robert Bateman and Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award recipient Richard Ellis kicked off the celebrations at the AFC Gala.
Mark Hobson, Leo Osborne, Kim Middleton, David N. Kitler and Ed Spera put on a show of their talents at top speed for a "Raptor Quick Sketch" of live birds of prey to raise funds for AFC at the Gala, an evening highlight!
An award ceremony celebrated the top AFC exhibiting artists, Brent Cooke with a Medal of Excellence and Best on Show for his sculpture, "As the Crow Fries".
Robin Murray was awarded with two Medals of Excellence for his paintings, "Lost Lands" and "Still Life Mischief" and the Environmental Statement Award for "Lost Lands" a wonderful accomplishment for such a young artist.
Richard Ellis, renowned as one of the world's pioneering and foremost marine artists was the recipient of AFC's 2013 Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award, given for an outstanding commitment to conservation and art, spoke at the Gala and presented a keynote address the following day at the opening of the festival.
Live entertainment brought a cultural rhythm to the festival from AFC Signature Member and internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, Mae Moore on gala night, an operatic performance by soprano Elizabeth Lewis Celeste and Japanese Shakuhachi flautist Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos set the mood on the eve of the Meet-the-Artists Wine & Cheese. Renowned Vancouver musician Adam Woodall serenaded audiences with inspiring acoustical guitar performances during our opening weekend.
Visitors found themselves face-to-face with wild birds of prey, an experience that engaged and inspired their relationship with nature. Thank you to the Owl Rehabilitation Centre and Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge for their participation with live raptors.
AFC's "Adventures in Arts and Environment" youth education program saw nearly 500 students over a three day period to participate in a hands-on artist workshop led by longtime AFC Signature Member David N. Kitler, an interactive guide to the art exhibit & film and first nation's cultural experience while cultivating an appreciation for the outdoors on an eco-walk. AFC and Grouse Mountain education provided complimentary tickets to over 250 underserved youth giving them an opportunity to connect with art and the environment in one of BC's most spectacular natural settings, Grouse Mountain Resort.
Thanks to David N. Kitler and William Nahanee for providing three consecutive days of education to nearly 500 students followed by 2 full days of adult art education.
Artists captured audiences through live painting demonstrations as part of the Nature Art Walk. Artists paused to describe their process and techniques as well as answering questions from visitors of all ages.
The AFC Festival family weekend offered fun and educaiton for all ages including lectures for children and adults, musical entertainment and art activities to capture the essence of art and conservation. Thank you to AFC member artists for painting and educating, to Paintentertainment for creating elegent roving characters on the peak of the mountain and to Elmers for their support at the kids art table.
This year the AFC Festival hosted the first BC Conservation Symposium. A pilot event brought together seven of BC's leading conservation organizations to the Festival to build a dialogue through a discussion panel and individual presentations on topics of concern in local and global conservation. The initiative served to introduce symposium audience and festival-goers to various conservation NGOs to highlight the great work the NGOs are doing in B.C. Find out more.
Photography credit: BAM Studio - Ali Sohrabzadeh & Paul Moldovanos, Cameron Bowman Photography, and Rosslyn Shipp.