Helping animals with art

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By Kirsten Laskey

The animal kingdom is in trouble. Species are vanishing because of habitat loss, food chains are becoming unbalance and ecosystems are chaotic. To help restore the order, artist Geraldine Kerr is hosting an art show at Mesa Public Library.

Twenty-six paintings each feature an animal that is endangered in alphabetical order. “The ABC’s of Endangered Animals” exhibit will open Thursday at the gallery. There will be an opening reception from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday.

The 26 airbrushed paintings depict the animals “as glamorous as possible,” Kerr said.

Cheetahs, tigers, hippopotamuses, lemurs are just a few of the animals being showcased. While there are thousands of animals on their way to extinction, Kerr said she selected ones people are most familiar with.

The exhibit should appeal to young people and adults. She wanted to include the younger generations in the exhibit, “because kids are the future,” Kerr said.

“They will inherit the world.”

Therefore, she added, young people need to be educated and have sensitivity toward the earth.

Plus, humans are not immune to environmental hazards; they affect every living thing, Kerr said.

“Their survival is our survival,” she said. “So if we let them go, we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot.”

To help heal the wounds nature is suffering, Kerr is doing more than just exposing people to animals’ plight, she will also be donating proceeds from the sales of her alphabet animal prints to the World Wildlife Foundation.

Lloyd Venerable, an employee of Foxfire Gallery, helped Kerr make the prints. There also be cards for sale.

Prices for the prints range from $75 for a hand-signed print to a $5 card.

This is a new type of exhibit for Kerr, who moved to New Mexico from Boca Raton, Fla., a year and a half ago. However, she has been creating art since age 2, she said, “Since I could hold a pencil in my hand.”

Actually, it seems more likely to have been an airbrush. Kerr said she has done airbrush work all her life. “I’m an airbrush junkie,” she said.

Kerr taught airbrush illustration at the Art Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and designed screen prints for children’s wear in New York.

During the opening reception for Kerr’s latest work, refreshments will be served.

The show will be featured at the library gallery till July 3.