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Animal art show raises money for the BioPark.

Elephants Will Paint at the Zoo on Tuesday

"Wild Ride" painted by Rozie the Elephant. Photo courtesy of New Mexico BioPark Society.

February 4, 2013

Elephants Alice and Rozie will get new canvases and fresh paint to create art on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. Media and the public are invited to watch the artists work and talk with keepers at the Elephant Watering Hole from 1 - 1:30 p.m.

Painting is an enrichment activity for the elephants and a fundraiser for the BioPark. Elephant art works are on sale as part of Painting Animals, a show at Weems Galleries through February 15.

"Elephants aren't the only animal artists featured in the show," said John Grassham, Development Director for the New Mexico BioPark Society. "Gorillas, orangutans, alligators, lions, snow leopards and even hedgehogs have done painting enrichment, and the canvases turn out to be very beautiful and unique. This is a fun way to raise support for the animals."

The elephants and other animals use non-toxic tempera paints, and they may or may not use a paintbrush. Painting is a special occasion and not part of the daily routine. This allows the activity to be stimulating and enriching.

Watching the elephants paint live is a rare treat, as entertaining for the viewer as it is for the elephants. No two paintings are the same, and each elephant uses its own technique. The elephants usually paint for about 15 minutes at a time. On Tuesday, the elephants will begin painting at 1 p.m. Afterwards, elephant keepers will be available for a short Q & A.

Weems Galleries and Framing, located at Montgomery and Louisiana, is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Through February 15, the Painting Animals show features animal art and animal-themed work by humans, including David Moss, Dana Pomroy, Fred Yost, Mary Oelschlaeger, Mary Ann Weems, Lu Heater, Mary Beth Goforth and Dana Pomroy. Proceeds benefit the New Mexico BioPark Society.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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