Zoo Animal Artwork to be displayed, Sold at Lodi Art Gallery
Image courtesy of Micke Grove Zoo
Nearly fifty pieces of art painted by various animals living at the Micke Grove Zoo will be on display and available for purchase at the Double Dip Gallery in downtown Lodi from April 4 - 30. This free art exhibit is a fundraiser for the Zoo’s animal enrichment fund. Proceeds from sold art will be used to purchase new enrichment items such as toys, treats, and other objects that mentally and physically stimulate the animals to benefit their overall well-being. Zoo staff and two of the animal artists – twin African leopard tortoises – will be present and painting at the Double Dip Gallery from 6-8:30pm during the Lodi First Friday Art Hop on April 4. The tortoises will be painting for 15 minute sessions at 6:30 and 7:30pm.
The Zoo’s animal care staff began painting with the animals in March 2012 as a direct way to provide them with enrichment and to interact with the animals safely for training purposes. Working with the Micke Grove Zoological Society, the animal care staff began selling smaller pieces of artwork in the zoo gift shop the following June.
“The painting itself was enrichment for the animals, and we decided that the pieces they were producing could be sold to help raise money to develop our enrichment program. Prior to that, keepers (animal care staff) had been purchasing enrichment items with money from their own pockets,” shared Carrie McMorris, Animal Care Specialist and organizer of the animal enrichment program. “Like with children, [toys] get old, broken, and boring. It is important to constantly provide new and interesting items to keep the animals stimulated.”
Some of the animal care staff’s favorite pieces include artworks called “Peanuts Cost Extra” by a yellow-knobbed curassow and “Shattered Grass” by a Madagascar hissing cockroach.
The Double Dip Gallery, which features both artwork and ice cream, is owned by locally renowned artist Tony Segale. With its grand opening set for April 1, the gallery will host one benefit show each year in support of a different organization. Segale and his family chose Micke Grove Zoo’s animal paintings to be displayed for the first of the gallery’s benefit shows.
“Our hope is that more people will have a different perception of zoo animals and be interested in supporting the animals and visiting the [Micke Grove] Zoo in the future,” shared Segale. “Of the paintings I have seen, the snow leopard paw paintings are my favorite because I like simplicity in design and those marks really grab my attention.”
In addition to the snow leopard paw prints, abstract art created by the Prevost’s squirrels, Chilean pudu, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, yellow-knobbed curassow, black and white ruffed lemur, fossa, brown capuchin monkey, radiated tortoises, and African leopard tortoises will be available for purchase. A majority of the artwork that will be on display was specifically created for the exhibit at the Double Dip Gallery.
The Double Dip Gallery is located at 222 W. Pine Street west of Church Street in Lodi and is open from 12-8PM Tuesday through Sunday. There is no admission cost for the gallery, although ice cream is available for purchase.
Micke Grove Zoo is located inside Micke Grove Regional Park at 11793 N. Micke Grove Road in Lodi, CA. It is open every day of the year except Christmas from 10AM to 5PM and the admission gate closes at 4:30PM. Tickets are $5 for guests 14+, $3 for children 3-13, and free for children 2 and under and members of the Micke Grove Zoological Society. For more information regarding the zoo, visit www.mgzoo.com. For parking and other park related information, please visit www.sjparks.com.