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.

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, through our efforts and with the help of our partners, over 3000 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- Mosi oa Tunya Wildlife Art Program

Mosi oa Tunya High school has about 1500 students but, due to the political situation and poverty in Zimbabwe, they have little in the way of teaching resources. We kept hearing about how much the children there wanted and needed some form of creativity in their curriculum. At first we were simply going to put up some artwork but soon realized that the entire room needed a makeover. The students and staff were wonderful, coming in on their day off to help repaint and turn the room into an inspirational art center focusing on their local wildlife and wildlife conservation.

All the staff and students chipped in, got covered in paint and had a hilarious time working together

Like most Zimbabweans, the students and staff were not afraid of hard work

When the room was finished, the headmaster was amazed

The headmaster was quite moved at the new facility and said that 15 years ago when they built the school this was what he had hoped the art facility would be

The first conservation class assisted by PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION

Dominic from PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION did an excellent presentation on the biology and importance of painted dogs for our first class

By using ARTS FOR ANIMALS posters children can draw their own art and create a conservation poster

Since African children rarely have anything to put on the walls of their huts, these conservation posters are quite treasured and pass along conservation messages to family and friends

ARTS FOR ANIMALS posters motivate the children to be creative and pass on the word to protect their animals

This is the first time many of the students have an opportunity to display their artwork

2019 promises to be a very interesting year!

Wow! Two big shows in Texas and getting ready to go to Africa for five weeks – an awful lot going on!

We just returned from the main street show in Fort Worth where we reunited with a number of old friends. One of them, a young boy name Austin, was featured with me in a TV interview. Three years ago Austin and I had a lovely conversation about the importance of preserving the planet's elephants. He was so moved that he went home and put together a lemonade stand to raise funds for elephants. A year later he visited me again to tell me he had some money he raised and wanted to know how he could best help elephants. I referred him to the David Sheldrick Foundation in Kenya. He took that information and went on to adopt an orphaned albino elephant. His parents were quite impressed. They made a pledge that if he kept up his grades, stayed away from drugs, and kept active in wildlife conservation, they would take him to visit his orphaned elephant for a senior trip. Here's a link to the interview with Austin...

Well, gotta run as we're on our way to the Southlake show in Dallas. After that we'll come home for three days and then we're off to Africa on Safari with eight friends. The end of May will find us working to setting up two new wildlife art centers in Victoria Falls and at Timbavati near Kruger Park.

There'll be lots more information coming up about our new wildlife centers at Mosi Oa Tunya High School and Timbavati Conservation Bush camp.
Don't worry, I'm working on a way you can almost ome beside me in my travels and adventures. More to come... Keep a lookout for my Patreon information!

Arts festival happening this weekend in Sundance Square
Pieces of art from more than 200 artists will line the streets around Sundance Square this weekend for Main Street Arts Fest.

Protecting Vanuatu's Marine Life

We just returned from a "bucket list" adventure to Vanuatu in the South Pacific to celebrate Jim's 70th birthday, Anne's 61st birthday, Christmas, New Year's and our anniversary. Although the trip was primarily recreational, we couldn't help but bring with us some art materials and supplies for the children of Vanuatu. The children there are quite poor and the country has a lot in common with Africa, in terms of limited classroom resources and conservation teaching tools. Like Tonga, which we visited two years ago, Vanuatu has serious environmental challenges and marine conservation issues. We visited a local school and, although the children were out for Christmas holidays, we met with local teachers and activists. In addition to passing out art posters and materials, we discussed ways we could help them connect creativity with conservation in their schools. The people of Vanuatu are very generous and warm and genuinely value their environment and marine life. We hope to establish a relationship with our friends there, furnishing many of the same art materials and conservation stewardship support that we do in Africa. Whether it's elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, turtles, whales, or coral reefs, all of the Earth's wildlife is critical to the heritage and future of the local people as well as the overall health of our planet. For more information and photographs about our trip to Vanuatu check out the Anne London Facebook page, or our "Journal" on the web site.

Jim and Linda Bennie are both active in Vanuatu educational and developmental organizations

We dropped off much-needed art supplies and teaching aids needed to develop new art conservation programs.

Vanuatu's Schools focus primarily on basic educational skills and hygiene

ARTS FOR ANIMALS will provide art materials and teaching aids to include wildlife conservation in their curriculum.

ARTS FOR ANIMALS Expands into South Africa

Through our friend Matt Lindenberg (Rhino Man movie) we were introduced to Charles and Inga de Villiers, founders of Timbavati Bush Camp for kids near Kruger Park in South Africa. It is a state-of-the-art facility with accommodations for up to 40 children, staff and volunteers. These are the type of partnerships that enables ARTS FOR ANIMALS to reach thousands more children each year while remaining in budget.

We are very excited about partnering with Timbavati Foundation to educate local children about the importance of their wildlife by "connecting creativity with conservation". ARTS FOR ANIMALS will help create an environment that exposes the children to art and helps the staff at Timbavati connect conservation messages with art lessons.

Our "Wildlife Protector" Program and Art Poster Program will enable Timbavati's conservation messages to follow the children into their homes and villages--dramatically increasing their effectiveness.
Timbavati is an incredible bush camp built by the de Villiers family to help local children learn the value of their wildlife

Timbavati is composed of classrooms, kitchen facilities, accommodations for children and staff and recreational areas

Its goal is purely to bring children joy and give them the tools they will need to become conservationists themselves

Timbavati Foundation also assists local villages in obtaining water and building critical waste facilities for the villages

An incredible collection of skulls and mounts taken from animals that died in the Bush naturally or were hit by cars helps educate the children

This collection gives children a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with the beauty of these animals

The children also learn agriculture and, as shown here, grow trees to replace forests damaged by elephants

The entire facility is very low carbon footprint with most of its energy supplied by solar power

We presented the teachers with art pieces focusing on the plight of rhinos called, "The Last Unicorn"

We got to know Charles and Inga the founders of Timbavati and France and Teresa, the directors

We had a lovely visit at their home, shared a beautiful dinner and got to discuss important local conservation issues. We also learned that Charles was one of the founders of the South African Ranger College, a partner with us on Ranger scholarships

We wanted Charles and Inga to have a piece of Anne London artwork for their collection

It's rare to meet folks as dedicated to wildlife conservation and the education of children as this couple. We had many things in common and look forward to a growing friendship with them

While sitting around the campfire at the Boma, a white rhino and calf wandered close by

Charles and Inga live in a private nature reserve near Kruger Park with many endangered species living on the property

ARTS FOR ANIMALS Ranger Scholarship Winners

With the help of Markeeta Brown, ARTS FOR ANIMALS awarded Anita Ncube and Sebo Sibanda our first Ranger School scholarships. These two-year scholarships will pay for their accommodation, board, and training to become some of the first female Rangers in Africa.

Both women have known since an early age that they want to dedicate their lives to saving their wildlife. Interestingly, both these women were first exposed to conservation stewardship at the Painted Dog Conservation Bush Camp and both women are currently working at schools that ARTS FOR ANIMALS has helped with computers and art materials near Hwange National Park.

We will follow the efforts of these two women closely and look forward to their graduation from Ranger College. In exchange for these scholarships, Anita and Sebo have agreed to become mentors for future scholarship recipients. ARTS FOR ANIMALS will also provide them with computers for the first time so that they can journal their progress. It should be very interesting to see what their lives as ranger trainees will be like.

If you would like to be a part of this female Ranger program, you can dedicate donations specifically to help Zimbabwean girls break the mold of typical African women and pursue their dreams to protect wildlife. Each two-year scholarship to fund a female Ranger cost $4500 and any funds donated are a huge help toward increasing the number of park rangers available to protect wildlife while also demonstrating that African women can take on any role in life they set their sights on.
Sebo Sibanda and Anita Ncube first decided they wanted to become park rangers while attending the Painted Dog Conservation camp as children

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