Vancouver, BC CANADA – June 17, 2022 - In 2022, internationally renowned artist and conservation leader, Kitty Harvill will be recognized for her contribution to art and wildlife, with Artists for Conservation’s (AFC's) top honor: the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award. AFC bestows the award annually to individuals for exemplifying the achievements and dedication of the award's namesake.
“Kitty is a rare kind of inspiring artist and conservationist, and an extraordinary role model of resourcefulness, creativity, persistence and passion." explains AFC President and Founder, Jeff Whiting. Kitty joins a who’s-who roster of international recipients chosen for their artistic excellence and lifetime of extraordinary support of conservation, including David Shepherd, Robert Bateman, John Banovich, Robert Glen, Sue Stolberger, Pollyanna Pickering, Dr. Guy Harvey, Richard Ellis, John and Suzie Seerey-Lester, Karen Laurence-Rowe, Guy Coheleach, Mark Hobson, Guy Combes, Priscilla Baldwin and Anne London.
Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, Kitty excelled academically and professionally as an artist. Prior to her work as a professional wildlife artist, she was a senior executive in the advertising industry and owner of a commercial art firm. She has illustrated dozens of books, including many children’s books, and has donated her artwork to even greater number of charities. With dual residency in both USA and Brazil, Harvill divides her time between the two countries, specializing in wildlife art and specifically endangered species.
Kitty has been actively involved with the conservation efforts in her home in southern Brazil since 2006, from hands-on volunteer work, to fundraising, publishing, to launching her own art and conservation organization.
She has been a long-time supporter of Society for Wildlife Research and Environmental Education (SPVS) where she is active in the organization’s Red-tailed parrot project,among many others. She recently donated a 100-canvas interactive piece to their educational center depicting the original Atlantic Forest and its subsequent destruction to only 7% intact. In 2012, the children's book "WISDOM, the Midway Albatross", illustrated by Harvill, won numerous awards. The book details the life of the world's oldest wild banded bird - WISDOM, an endangered Laysan Albatross and chronicles the deadly practice of longline fishing and the death of thousands of albatross chicks each year due to plastic pollution in our oceans. Kitty has been commissioned by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment - ICMBio, to create the cover paintings for their National Action Plans for the Conservation of Endangered Species and has completed 12 covers to date.
Through her work with the project "Ararinha na Natureza" of SAVE Brasil (the Brazilian affiliate of Bird Life International), she was involved in raising awareness, through her artwork and workshops with the local population, for the re-introduction of the Spix's Macaw - considered extinct in the wild since 2000. On June 11, 2022, 8 Spix's Macaws (5 females and 3 males) were successfully released from their enclosure in their home in the Caatinga of northern Bahia, Brazil.
In 2014, Kitty created a Facebook Group called “52 Weeks – Nature Painting Challenge” which grew into its own organization: “Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature” (ABUN). As founders of ABUN, Harvill and her husband, Christoph Hrdina, have grown the organization to over 1,000 members, with participating artists creating artwork in collaboration with biologists and organizations worldwide working for the conservation of endangered species and endangered ecosystems. (www.abun4nature.org/)
"To say that I am honored to receive the Simon Combes Conservation Award, an iconic artist and conservationist, is a vast understatement." asserted Kitty upon learning of her nomination, "My hope is that the award will enable me to amplify my efforts in conservation through art for this planet that we, two-legged, four-legged, feathered, furred and scaled, all share. An award of this magnitude brings about humility, and an enormous sense of gratitude. I’m grateful for the opportunities that have enabled me to serve in this way."
Kitty has been a member of Artists for Conservation since 2009, during which time, her work has been featured multiple times in AFC’s annual exhibit. She will be presented the award during the Artists for Conservation Festival opening reception on September 22, 2022 in Vancouver, BC.
AFC’s Simon Combes Conservation Award was established in 2006 is the highest honour AFC presents to an artist member. The annual award has become the world's most prestigious conservation award for visual artists. The award's namesake, Simon Combes was a prominent member of AFC until his tragic passing in 2004, when he was killed in an encounter with a Cape Buffalo near his home. Simon was Project Director of the Kenya chapter of the Rhino Rescue Trust, an organization founded in 1985 to protect endangered species from being poached, and to help the communities surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park affected by wildlife conflicts.
Learn more about Kitty through her AFC website.
Artists for Conservation
Artists for Conservation (AFC) is the world's leading group of artists supporting the environment. Founded in 1997, the non-profit organization comprises a membership of 500 of the world's most gifted nature artists from 27 countries, across five continents. Dedicated to nurture, promote and leverage its world-class community of artists in support of our natural world, AFC drives its mission through three key programs: Art & Environmental Education; Field Work & Research; and Artist Development. The Artists for Conservation Festival is AFC's annual flagship initiative to showcase, support and further these programs. For more information, visit http://www.artistsforconservation.org.