Last month, AFC completed its 4th annual Artists for Conservation Festival, celebrating nature's beauty and diversity with a spectacular art exhibit and a host of inspiring art and environmental education programs. The event welcomed public of all ages with a variety of interests - fine art, environment and conservation. It also brought together over forty AFC artists, a small army of dedicated volunteers, and supporters including RE/MAX, Deeley Harley Davidson Canada, our gracious host, Grouse Mountain and many other supporters and patrons.
Pollyanna Pickering, 2014 Festival Patron, flew in from the UK with daughter and manager, Anna-Louise Pickering. Pickering is donating the proceeds from the sale of her painting of Snow Leopards "Land of the Thunderdragon", to benefit the Festival and it's public education programs. Acclaimed artist couple, John and Suzie Seerey-Lester travelled from their native Florida to jointly receive AFC's highest honor - the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award.
Many AFC artist members joined us during the 10-days for the opening of the exhibit and generously contributed their time to give presentations, lead workshops, and provide painting demonstrations. We were proud to once again have had the blessings, support and active involvement of renowned Coast-Salish First Nations artists and conservation leaders William Nahanee, Huuyaa and Xwalacktun, Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge, OWL Refuge. A remarkable roster of musical performers, including Elizabeth Lewis Celeste, Postmodern Camerata, John Gilliat, Russell Schumsky and Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos elevated the festival experience for all. AFC's volunteer team of volunteers played a pivotal role in the success of the festival covering many shifts over the 10 days on Grouse Mountain.
For an idea of the full range of public activities and participants that transpired during the Festival, visit the AFC Festival site and for all other programs continue browse this site. Stay tuned for 2015 AFC Festival dates.
This year the 7th Annual Live Exhibit featured 85 artworks, including 46 wall hangings and sculptures representing 80 artists from 11 different countries. An estimated 12, 000 visitors viewed the gallery over the 10 day festival hosted at Grouse Mountain Resort, in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. AFC would like to thank RE/MAX for their continued sponsorship and Grouse Mountain for hosting the festival. The 200 works accepted this year can now be viewed on the AFC Virtual Exhibit (add link).
The 4th Annual AFC Festival brought like-minded artists from around the world to Vancouver to celebrate a commitment to artistic excellence and support for conservation. Some of this year's special guests included John & Suzie Seerey-Lester (USA) this year's joint-recipients of the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award, along with previous Simon Combes Award winners Robert Glen and Sue Stolberger (Tanzania) and Pollyanna Pickering (UK) Many other artists travelled long distances to attend, including notably Valentin Katrandzhiev, AFC's only Bulgarian member.
No less than 30 AFC Signature Members attended the festival. Artists in group photo below (back-row, left-to-right), Craig Benson, Pollyanna Pickering, David Kitler, Sue Stolberger, Rob Glen,Terry Woodall, Anne Peyton, Martha Thompson, Michael Dumas, Kevin Johnson;( front-row, left-to-right) Valentin Katrandzhiev, Barry Stein, Karyn DeKramer, Brent Cooke, Mark Hobson, Jeff Whiting, Murray Phillips, Esther Sample, Joseph Koensgen, Suzie Seerey-Lester, John Seerey-Lester. Absent from group photo above, but in attendance were Gaye Adams, Rosemarie Armstrong, Rob Butler, Linda DuPuis-Rosen, Pat Jackman, Mary Jane Jessen, Chris Maynard, James Stewart.
The Festival kicked off the with an evening Gala celebration attended by AFC artists, festival sponsors, and special guests. It was an elegant evening on the peak of a mountain overlooking the downtown Vancouver area. The night included a First Nation's cultural presentation, a silent auction, an awards ceremony dinner, and musical performance. The goal of the gala event was to raise awareness and funds for AFC's programming goals in 2015.
The featured fundraising event at the Gala evening was the "Live Raptor Quick Draw". An all-star cast of artists had only one hour to complete a painting from a live subject, from start to finish. This year's artist participants included, Pollyanna Pickering, David Kitler and John & Suzie Seerey-Lester. OWL Wildlife Rehabilitation and Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge for Endangered Wildlife participated with handlers and avian companions, which included a Barred Owl, Turkey Vulture, Golden Eagle and a Barn Owl as subjects. Each work was placed into the silent auction in order to raise funds for programs associated with the festival. Thank you to the participating artists and organization as well as supporters for running the gauntlet for conservation generosity.
The opening weekend engaged visitors in a First Nations cultural presentation, a series of artist lectures, live art demonstrations, wildlife encounters with Birds of Prey courtesy of OWL rehabilitation centre and AFC's annual Meet-the-Artists Wine and Cheese event sponsored by Summer Hill Wineries and Vancouver Mortgage.
Throughout the week AFC focused on providing a wildlife and art experience for Vancouver's at-risk and underserved youth. Despite complications from a province-wide teacher's strike, nearly 200 students participated in full-day of art and environment immersion which included: AFC documentaries, meeting Cleo the Barn Owl (Grouse Mountain's wildlife ambassado)r, a guided gallery tour, a presentation on bronze casting, an eco-walk around Grouse Lake with visit to see live Grizzly Bears, and a one hour hands on workshop with AFC's Linda Dupuis-Rosen.Linda graciously continued to offer free public workshops for Festival visitors in late afternoons and evenings.
AFC's weekend dedicated to family fun, adventures and education saw a lively exchange of musicians, arts and crafts activities attended by wildlife itself. Live artists demonstrations exhibited the work of master sculptors all weekend including James Stewart, Jeffrey Whiting, and First Nations artists Xwa-lack-tun & Huuyaa. Lectures were presented over the second weekend. Presenters included Dr. Robert Butler, AFC artist and founder of the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, and film-producer Ian Hinkle who introduced a screening of his new film "Reaching Blue", plus AFC artists James Stewart, Brent Cooke and Jeffrey Whiting.
A heartfelt thankyou to the sponsors and supporters of the festival, including a special thanks to RE/MAX, Grouse Mountain, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, Vancouver Mortgage, Sewell's Marina, RBC Foundation, Willow Grove Foundation, Vancouver's North Shore Tourism, Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, CTV, QMFM Radio, North Shore Recreation & Culture, City and District of North Vancouver, Yulu PR, Lonsdale Quay Hotel, Lonsdale Rentals, Good Life Connoisseur and Arabella Magazines, Whistler Water, Summerhill Wineries, ISCAPE, Arts-BC and Taylor Made Media.
Most of the photos above are courtesy of Ali Sohrab (BAM Studios) and Paul Moldovanos who generously gave their time and expertise to record key parts of the Festival and gala. Lastly, AFC would like to send out an enormous thank you to all of our volunteer leads and volunteers who dedicated their time, efforts and enthusiasm throughout the festival. We couldn't have done it without you!