The last few months have proved to be a very exciting time to be involved in wildlife art. Firstly my work “Yellow-tailed blacks” was selected for inclusion in the prestigious “Birds in Art”international exhibition (over 900 entries and only around 90 selected) held at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in the USA. Then, just recently, I was voted “Wildlife Artist of the Year” by the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia. All good – but the best was yet to come!
A few weeks ago I attended the official fund raising launch at the Sofitel, Melbourne of the Wildlife Art Museum of Australia (WAMA) Along with a select group of wonderful artworks displayed in Sofi’s Lounge this night also included the launch of the WAMA Foundation’s first publications “Inspiration Wild – an Artistic Celebration of Nature and Environment” a sumptuous book of artwork by some of Australia’s leading wildlife artists (I was delighted to be amongst them) and “Inspiration Wild – Historical Perspective and Future Challenges.” Some passionate speeches about the plight of our natural world were given – including by Robert Purves AM the Australian President of WWF. The whole purpose of the evening though, was to officially put WAMA in the public domain.
It is an ambitious project to build a dedicated museum for wildlife art. Land and wetlands, adjacent to Halls Gap and the Grampians has already been donated to the Foundation. A design competition involving the students from the University of Melbourne School of Design has come up with some truly inspiring architectural ideas for an iconic building which will have a strong focus on education, permanent and touring exhibitions, a dedicated art and natural history library and provide world class research, conference and resident artist facilities and studios. The surrounds will feature indigenous flora created in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne (if you have been to the Cranbourne gardens you know we are in very good hands) Having met with many members of the board I can truthfully say I have the utmost confidence that it will happen. They are confident that within 3-5 years it will be a reality. For those of us in the wildlife art world it is incredibly exciting. Naturally, these things do not happen without hundreds of volunteer hours by passionate people along with monetary assistance – they will be approaching State and Federal Governments for a lot of funding but the initial funding comes from donations (tax deductable) By becoming a member of WAMA you can help the project become a reality sooner rather than later. If you are interested please check out their website at www.wama.net.au The patron Glenda Lewin – the passion behind the project – is a wonderfully warm, generous person who is happy to come and talk to any groups who would like to know more and who may wish to help in any way they see fit.