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.

2020 was a difficult year for everyone on the planet Earth!

Dec
21
2020
This has certainly been one of the most unique and difficult entries we have written ! The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are supposed to be a time of reflection, gratitude and connecting with the people we love.

Today, our reflections are rife with concerns about America’s future, our own personal future and the future of our planet. It’s a very difficult time to focus on gratitude for our blessings, and even more difficult to connect with the people we love.

All Anne and I can say is that our holiday message remains unchanged. Simply said – “We are grateful for all our blessings- as Americans, as your friend, or as part of your family”. Our kids in Africa echo that message!

A few years ago, our holiday message aptly mentioned, “your role as an important character in the biography of these children's lives and the color you have brought to their story”. I said, “Someday those children will look back at the help you shared with wonder and gratitude. I even said,” it is those shared experiences we all value most.”

We could not have foreseen the formidable nature of the “adventure” we all share today, but it is a “shared experience” and certainly one those children will look back on with “wonder and gratitude”. Like many adventures, it is full challenges, heartaches, sacrifice and victories -large and small! We know you have the strength to deal with the challenges of this “adventure”, an sharing that strength with these children is something you and your children will value and be proud of.

For people the world over, the greatest challenge is finding peace and happiness again and we hope you can find the paths to those critical life elements successfully.
Helping others is a proven "shortcut" to feeling better about the world and your part in it. We look forward to the day when we have clinched this adventure and we can move on - reconnected with these kids, and our dearly missed friends and family!

We wish you a peaceful, safe and fun Holiday Season!
Christmas cheers from Zimbabwe!

Happy Holidays from Jim and I with wishes for a great 2021!



ANNE LONDON WINS ARTISTS FOR CONSERVATION HIGHEST HONOR

Sep
12
2020
AFC to Recognize Anne London with Top Conservation Award

Vancouver, BC CANADA – Sept 8, 2020 - In 2020, internationally acclaimed American artist, Anne London will be recognized for he rconservation leadership and artistic achievement 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.
“Anne's story is an inspiring one of a highly accomplished and talented artist who has made it her life's calling to inform, inspire and educate youth in Africa about the importance of appreciating and conserving wildlife" explains AFC President and Founder, Jeff Whiting. Whiting adds "Her vision and dedication in establishing a learning center in Zimbabwe and an international network of partners supporting youth education in the conservation space, is truly inspiring." Anne 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, and Robert Glen.
Each year for the past 40 years, Anne has exhibited her extraordinary work and built strong ties with the zoo and conservation community, supporting wildlife conservation organizations. Using her acclaim as an artist, she has been actively involved with many causes, including Explorers Against Extinction, The International Rhino Foundation, The Ruaha Carnivore project, Painted Dog Conservation, Timbavati Foundation, The South African Wildlife College, The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Children in the Wilderness and the Cheetah Conservation Foundation, often providing financial support, artwork, logos and poster development. Anne serves on the board of The Project Hope Foundation,and has raised well over $1,000,000 for conservation projects, programs, and organizations worldwide.
For decades, Anne has been travelling to Africa, basing her work on her real-life experiences in the African bush. In 2014, she and her famed oceanographer/photographer husband, Jim Hart, formed a non-profit named Arts for Animals, with the goal of connecting conservation with creativity. With the help of their partner, Children in the Wilderness, they started the Arts for Animals Wildlife Arts Center, giving local children a place to be exposed to, and learn about, art and wildlife stewardship.
Arts For Animals has since grown into an international organization inspiring thousands of children as future stewards of wildlife habitat, through drawing kits, activity posters, inspirational art and classroom teaching aids to partner conservation organizations and schools in four African countries and across the globe. It also organizes mentoring by teachers and local artists and offers scholarships to future artists, rangers and park administrators.
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.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tentative plans are to present Anne with the award at a formal ceremony in early 2021 at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, Florida. Details TBA.
Learn more about Anne through her AFC website at www.artistsforconservation.org.
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.
Winning this award was a huge honor for me, but it certainly could not done it without the help and support of Jim

Corona Challenges and updates

Sep
11
2020
Most of the schools, bush camps, and conservation organizations are closed in Southern Africa. Although this has seriously slowed our work in Africa to educate children, ARTS FOR ANIMALS Wildlife Protector program is reportedly still saving wildlife. Our Wildlife Protectors are still active in villages working to discourage poaching in nearby wildlife reserves and parks. Sadly, an ongoing drought throughout Southern Africa has compounded the hardships placed by the coronavirus. Lack of food, and medical attention is common in South Africa these days. Luckily, it seems like the strong immune systems of Africans are working to help protect them from extreme coronavirus deaths. We were just reading that in Kenya, a country the size of South Eastern America has had only 500 deaths so far. Hopefully, those strong immune systems will help hold down deaths in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia as well.
So our ARTS FOR ANIMALS, Wildlife Protectors are removing snares , reporting poachers in their village, and making their friends and family aware that snares can kill more than just antelopes, but can maim elephants, giraffes, and anything that steps into them. Our friends at PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION and Timbavati foundation are working to be ready to educate more children with better materials and lesson plans as soon as the corona crisis is over.
The world economy and especially the economy here in the United States has made it very difficult to raise donations to support wildlife conservation, art education or anything else really in Africa. Not knowing what lies ahead in our own country and dealing with the issues and concerns of coronavirus has really taken the focus away from helping wildlife and children in other countries. We're hoping that, as time goes on and a virus vaccine is developed, people will again support efforts to save endangered species and protect our planets wildlife.
Our ARTS FOR ANIMALS wildlife Center has become a central meeting place for local villagers

Twabuka School in Zambia is using our computers and artwork to establish new programs for their students as soon as it can reopen


Even though our Wildlife Center building is closed, local villagers and students are still using the outdoor gallery for meetings and to draw art


The spirits of the children there are very high and they are all look forward to starting school again


Tich Ncubez,Our art center director is working with us to develop new creative programs and raise money

We are going to use artwork from local children and artists like Tich, to raise funds for our wildlife Center and to help our staff there survive.We are developing a page on the a AELondonstudio website featuring their art work.

As soon as Ranger school restarts, Anita will continue her work toward becoming a Zimbabwe park ranger

Our" African women in conservation" program will help Zimbabwe wildlife authorities understand the value of females in park administration, policing and park management.

ARTS FOR ANIMALS will continue it's conservation work in Africa

Apr
17
2020
Last year was an incredibly successful one for ARTS FOR ANIMALS. Working with Timbavati foundation In South Africa, PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION, Mosi Au Tunya high school,the ARTS FOR ANIMALS wildlife art center in Zimbabwe, and Children in the Wilderness in Botswana and Zimbabwe, we reached one of our goals of impacting the lives of over 10,000 African children. Today over 10,000 children in adults proudly wear their WILDLIFE PRORECTOR wristbands declaring to everyone that they understand the value of their wildlife to their heritage into their future and made a pledge to protect that wildlife.
Through our programs over 6000 posters displaying conservation messages and featuring the artwork of the children involved are spreading the message of wildlife conservation around Southern Africa .
This year will be a challenging one, with the impact of the coronavirus in Africa being unknown. We hope and pray our friends in Africa meet this challenge and remember the lessons that they've learned about the importance of their wildlife. With a serious drought compounding their challenges, we hope they will continue to understand and respect the boundaries of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries nearby.
So far our scholarship recipients are continuing their studies to become park rangers and park administrators and our ARTS FOR ANIMALS wildlife Center is still spreading the message that killing local wildlife is killing their future. As time goes on we hope to find new ways to support our heroes of conservation Africa and maintain the educational momentum we have worked for the last six years to gain.

Although many of the schools are closed, the ARTS FOR ANIMALS wildlife Center continues to be a meeting place for children to practice creativity


Creativity is so important to help these children meet the challenges of life


At the art center the Lieden gallery still provides a shady, quiet place for art students to meet and be creative


Many of the students are bringing their art home to practice


We don't know what effect the virus will have on Africa's wildlife parks


We are hoping the lessons we teach will protect Africa's wildlife


In some areas of Kenya, even giraffes are hunted for meat


Only time will tell the effects of this worldwide pandemic on the Earth's wildlife



Working with Timbavati foundation in South Africa

May
26
2019
After spending a week or so in Zimbabwe, working with our two wildlife art centers and PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION Bush camp, we flew back down to Johannesburg,South Africa and then on to Timbavati conservation camp in South Africa, near Kruger national Park. Compared to Zimbabwe, working in South Africa is a breeze. Timbavati conservation Bush camp is a good example of what South Africans consider important. One of the most successful families in South Africa has built a state-of-the-art conservation camp for kids adjacent to Kruger Park. Children come for four days at a time to learn about wildlife conservation and the importance of protecting their environment. They tour nearby Kruger Park and participate in games, activities and learning experiences to help them become responsible South African citizens, respecting their environment and the importance of their wildlife.
Thanks to ARTS FOR ANIMALS, the children visiting the Bush camp now have inspirational wildlife art around them and learning materials which encourage their creativity and wildlife stewardship.
Working together with the staff and children of Mosi oa Tunya high school was a joy

Rooms at Timbavati provide beds for for children each and were were decorated with wildlife art

For many children this is their first exposure to art as well as their first opportunity to see their own wildlife in its native habitat.

Timbavati foundation has provided a state-of-the-art educational facility


Anne and Jim Hart teaching students while training teachers and art and conservation techniques


Anne using a lion skull to demonstrate how to draw a lion to students


Our first small group of sixth-grade students, help the teachers learn wildlife art techniques