Arts for Animals Journal

This "Journal" is a record of the birth and history of ARTS FOR ANIMALS. It flows from the successes of today into the past and back to our humble beginnings. As you scroll through the entries and time advances, you can easily see our phenomenal growth and chart a growing number of children coming to understand the value of their wildlife.

Our path to starting Arts for Animals began many years ago, when Jim and I felt our first connections to wild animals. For me, it was the lions and elephants at Shambala Animal Sanctuary in California. For Jim, it was the aquatic wildlife surrounding him growing up in Louisiana. As the decades passed and those connections strengthened, it became apparent to both of us that preserving wildlife was in the marrow of our bones.

Throughout our lives, both Jim and I studied the science of the animals we loved, worked closely with conservationists, and developed lives that are focused on the preservation of endangered wildlife -- both on land and in the oceans.

When we each first visited Africa, we discovered the majesty and beauty of Africa's wildlife -- and the sad truth that many creatures may be doomed to extinction. A great philosopher once said, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Arts for Animals was born out of our personal desire to "do something" -- to make a difference, however small, in the future of African wildlife. We hoped to impact a few hundred children and enlist them in the fight to save the wonderful wildlife in their own backyards. We realized it is only with their help that animals like elephants, rhinos, cheetahs and painted dogs will remain on this Earth.

"Safari" is the Swahili word for "journey," and so this journal chronicles the safari of Arts for Animals from its inception to its accomplishments today.

Jim and I began in 2011, just as two earthlings who were willing to try to make a difference by using art to teach conservation to the children we met on our travels. Before long, we realized many others shared our concerns and also wanted to personally take some action to protect the future of our planet. To encourage and help those folks make a difference, we created this nonprofit, Arts for Animals, Inc.

In 2012, we taught our first "formal" group of African children and helped them tie their creativity to conservation. It has been a journey filled with encouragement, the enthusiasm of children, and renewed hope for animals facing extinction.

As one of our supporters said, "Each spark of creativity ignited adds to the collective light of the world."

We have been fortunate enough to have friends, supporters, and wildlife lovers who have supported us on this journey and, without whom, few of these goals would've been accomplished. Far, far fewer children would be understanding the value of their wildlife and recognizing what art and creativity can bring into their lives. With their help and yours, we are changing lives and the future of wildlife on our planet -- one child at a time.

As the years progressed, ARTS FOR ANIMALS has grown and prospered far more than we would have predicted. Each year brings us closer to our goal of protecting our planet's endangered wildlife for future generations. Today, after 10 years of effort and with the help of our partners around the planet, thousands of children each year are exposed to creative thinking and are being taught the value of protecting their wildlife.

We hope this "safari" will conclude only when animal poaching ends, with all wildlife prospering in their native habitats, and with the ongoing resurgence of artistic expression and creativity in Africa.

Arts for Animals partners with the Black Mamba's, "Bushbabies" program in South Africa

Anne and Jim, while at the Jackson Wild film awards were introduced to Leitah Mkhabela, the leader of the highly feared Black Mambas ,anti-poaching regiment in South Africa. Leitah was voted "Ranger of the Year" by the Paradise Foundation and recognized as a "Champion of the Earth" by the United Nations!

The Black Mambas are the world's first all-female anti-poaching unit. They are 36 young African women who patrol 20,000 hectares of the Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa. Kruger is home to the largest population of rhino in the world and also is victim to more poaching attacks than any other area.
These women, with a passion for wildlife and rhino conservation, are also the voice in the community through their conservation work. The objectives of the Black Mambas is not only the protection of rhinos through boots on the ground and a presence on the front line, but also through being a role model in their communities. They want their communities to understand that there are far greater benefits to them through rhino conservation rather than poaching. They have lowered rhino poaching by 63% in Kruger national Park!
When Leitah heard about our mission to help conservation organizations in Africa connect conservation and creativity, she was excited to ask if we would like to partner with the Black Mamba's educational arm," the Bush Babies". Although highly feared by poachers as police force, these women are all also mothers, and understand the importance of conservation stewardship to the future of their children. They also recognize the worth of introducing Art into the lives of their children for balance and happiness in life.
We felt that it was a perfect partnership -with Arts for Animals providing art materials, lesson plans, wristbands and Arts for Animals program elements to help the women's educational programs to be more interesting and successful. Bush Babies programs provide education to over 2000 students in 10 schools surrounding Kruger national Park.
The Bush Babies program is integrated into the curriculum of local schools and encourages exploration of the subject matter in a multidisciplinary manner. By enhancing children's skills and building on their present ideas about conservation, the bush babies provide a wide variety of opportunities for their growth and development.
The bush babies mission is to reach as many children in the border communities of national parks as possible and to empower them to become responsible users of their natural resources, as well as developing empathy for their environment by instilling a wise set of environmental values.
We are so proud to add Bush Babies to our list of partners in Africa and around the world.
Arts for Animals continues to grow-partnering with the

I was honored to meet "Ranger of the year" and Black Mamba leaderLeitah Mkhabela

This beautiful Mormon leads the first all woman anti-poaching unit in the world. Believe me, wildlife poachers fear them!

Named after the deadly black mamba snake, these women lead an important defense against poaching in South Africa.

The bush babies environmental education organization runs and education center near greater Krueger national Park. Their programs are also integrated into the curriculum of local schools in the area as well.

We met Leitah through our friend Matt Lindenberg ,who is executive Director of the Global Conservation Corps

Matt is a South African filmmaker who has won international aclaim for his films, as well as his leadership of the Global Conservation Corps, leading the fight to preserve Africa's wildlife.

Leitah And our guide from our last safari to Timbavati

Leitah and I discussed a partnership between Arts for Animals and the bush babies

The Balck Mambas are also mothers and recognize how important conservation stewardship is to their children's future!

Partnering with the bush babies will allow arts for animals to reach children at 10 more schools in South Africa!

Arts for Animals can also expand its "Wildlife protector" programs thanks to Bush Babies ongoing programs

Arts for animals programs help African children become motivated to protect their wildlife.

Our programs will help them develop creative thinking and an understanding of the importance of art in their lives.

We are certainly looking forward to our partnership with the Bush Babies organization

It's so gratifying to know that we are also introducing the magic of art into the lives of these African children.

Anne and JIm will return to Africa in May 2024!

An invitation by gorilla doctors to visit Rwanda in May 2024, and several enthusiastic friends wanting to accompany us , will make it possible for Anne and Jim to return to Africa to promote arts for animals programs in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Rwanda. After leading a tour of Rwanda with their friends, Anne and jim will return to their base in Johannesburg for another month of visits to program locations across Africa. As usual, we will be bringing suitcases full of art supplies and materials, wristbands, and artwork to help support and promote arts for animals programs. They hope to visit new schools in the Akagera National park region of Rwanda as well as revisit schools in the Virunga Area near Volcanoes National Park where they will be visiting the area in which the gorilla doctors work.

Tich the Watchmen featured on Explorers Against Extinction

... from Explorers Against Extinction

Tichaona Ncube grew up herding cattle in the village in Tsholotsho, close to Hwange National Park.

He would sketch cattle and kudu and was inspired by the landscape around him.

During schooling in Victoria Falls he developed his love of art and with encouragement from mentors including Sanele Dhlomo, he received his very first commission in 2002. Tich now has a small home studio in Chinotimba, behind the Victoria Falls Hospital. He shares the space with his wife,a hairdresser- so there is always lots of people coming and going! He has been an incredible asset to the Arts for Animals programs in Zimbabwe, both at the wildlife center and local schools.

You can see Tich's work hanging in some of the lodges around Victoria Falls.

Tich particularly loves to paint big cats and elephants. He has donated art to Sketch for Survival in 2018, 2021 and 2022, when we exhibited his wonderful cheetah artwork at our event at the Explorer Club in New York. We are delighted to feature one of Tich's artworks in our special 'On the Brink' collection in 2023. This small collection will be exhibited alongside our Sketch for Survival artworks during the autumn tour (Norwich, Edinburgh, London) and the auction will conclude on Sunday 12 November.

Tich has been working with students at the Arts For Animals center, set up by US artist and Sketch for Survival supporter, Anne London. The Center is based at Jabulani High School, not far from the airport, and Tich was able to give me a tour of the centre and introduce me to some of the teachers and students when I was in Victoria Falls last month. More about that to come...

Explorers Against Extinction has partnered with Arts For Animals since 2018, supporting its work with young people in Zimbabwe.

To find out more about Sketch for Survival please click here>>

To see more of Tich's work please follow @tichthewatchman on Instagram.

Tich at work in his studio in Victoria falls

Tich is becoming recognized all over the world and visited by foreign media often

Tich's cheetah on display at the Explorer Club in New York in October 2022.

Tich's Artworks on display at the Explorer Club in New York in October 2022.


In April, Jim and Anne had an opportunity to visit tiger reserves in India with a friend of ours who is a tiger researcher. We had an awesome trip and visited four of India's most famous national parks. We got to see several tigers in the wild and learn more about the issues and concerns surrounding wildlife habitats in India. We especially enjoyed meeting the folks who are working to preserve India's wildlife habitats and protect India's endangered tiger populations. As we usually do, Jim brought ARTS FOR ANIMALS posters, wristbands, and other wildlife protector program materials in hopes of meeting local NGOs or entities who could use ARTS FOR ANIMALS programs to make their own educational programs more interesting and effective for local children.
We were extremely lucky to meet with the owners and administrative personnel of PUGDUNDEE (PUGDUNDEE means Tiger Trails in HIndi) SAFARIS. Pugdundee Safaris is extremely proactive in educating local children in villages near their lodges. Very similar to programs "Wilderness Destinations" organizes through "Children in the Wilderness" in Africa. We were so happy to learn about the conservation and educational programs Pugdundee is operating in India and how we might work together to address conservation and wildlife habitat issues in India. They are extremely motivated and our partnership with them will help make their programs more effective and enable us to reach more children than ever before. This is a new program for them and ,although it will take a while to implement, Pugdundee Safaris is committed to supporting ARTS FOR ANIMALS programs any way they can.
We are looking forward to this new partnership in India and modifying our wildlife conservation programs to address important habitat challenges in India.
ARTS FOR ANIMALS is expanding into Indian schools

We met with local teachers paid by PUGDundee to learn more about their programs and how ARTS FOR ANIMALS can help

We were so captivated by the majesty and beauty of India's Tigers.

Like African children, Indian children thirst for knowledge and need the lessons art can bring to their lives

Just like Indian tigers, Indian Wild Dogs are extremely endangered due to habitat loss.

Of the four Indian parks we visited,Pench was our favorite!

We are so happy to be able to contribute to protecting the incredible wildlife of India.

In 1901, India had over 40,000 tigers – in 1957, they only had 4000 left and now, thanks to conservation measures and protection there are over 6500 tigers in India.

Earth Day fundraising campaign.

This Earth Day we put out a fundraising campaign to all our supporters and donors- as well as Anne's clients and friends. The purpose was to give our friends and supporters an opportunity to do something to help the earths future during this Earth Day event. It was a huge success and we managed to raise almost $4000 for Arts for animals programs. It really is so energizing and motivating to know that the people that our friends clients and supporters trust us and want to support our efforts to save Earths wildlife.
We also sent out links to the 10th anniversary book we put together to celebrate 10 years of arts for animals working to educate children to the beauty of art, the importance of creativity, and the value of their wildlife. Here's a link to that book.... You may have to cut and paste it in your browser to see it but it's a good chance for you to learn about the entire story of Arts for Animals.

This is the cover of our anniversary publication.

We are so excited to be growing and now having Arts for Animals programs in India