Family-Friendly WILDLIFE Lands at Art Museum for Fall

For Immediate Release
September 2013
Media Contact:
Chris Potash
(610) 432-4333 ext. 125


Animal-themed exhibit should appeal also to birders, sportsmen, conservationists

ALLENTOWN--An exceptional exhibition of animal-themed works by American artists will fill Scheller and Rodale galleries this fall from September 29 through December 29. American Wildlife Art will include sensitive studies of individual subjects as well as dramatic scenes of life-and-death struggle played out before the backdrop of the great outdoors. Like the encyclopedic hardcover book of the same title by guest curator David J. Wagner, the carefully selected works on display trace the history of an artistic genre shaped over four centuries, from its beginnings in colonial times, through Audubon’s day, to contemporary paintings and sculpture. The exhibition illustrates how ideas about animals and their habits have changed over the years, and how artists and entrepreneurs have developed a market for wildlife art.    

            On display will be early works by Mark Catesby, who supplied members of the Royal Society in London with New World specimens for their burgeoning natural history collections during the Era of Exploration and Discovery; John James Audubon, who caused the course of American wildlife art history to turn and advance by romanticizing the genre and transforming static composition and design into Baroque masterpieces; Arthur Tait, whose collaborations with Currier & Ives brought wildlife art to the masses and focused on classic game for sport; Edward Kemeys, whose seminal sculptures captured the essence of disappearing wildlife like the American bison and wolves just as prominent Americans like George B. Grinnell, William Hornaday, and Theodore Roosevelt were promoting wilderness preservation and the ethics of sportsmanship; and contemporaries Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Carl Rungius, extraordinary painters who professionalized the genre and brought it into the twentieth century. Also included in the exhibition will be early duck-stamp prints and a framed Millennium set of federal duck stamps from 1934 to 2000, on loan from the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia. The exhibition concludes with recent paintings and sculptures by important modern wildlife artists such as Stanley Meltzoff, Robert Bateman, and Kent Ullberg.      

            American Wildlife Art will appeal to artists, collectors, conservationists, educators, sportsmen—anyone who already enjoys wildlife art or who is learning about it for the first time.




September 28 (Saturday)
Preview Party for American Wildlife Art

6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Members’ Preview and Launch Party to celebrate the arrival of American Wildlife Art. Themed appetizers, live music, local wildlife organizations on hand. R.S.V.P. to 610-432-4333, ext. 129, or to events [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org. Members attend FREE. Nonmembers: $25.


September 29 (Sunday)
Opening Day of American Wildlife Art
noon-4 p.m.


September 29 (Sunday)

Illustrated talk and book signing with the curator of American Wildlife Art

David J. Wagner, Ph.D.

1 p.m.

Author/curator Dr. David J. Wagner presents an illustrated talk that traces the history and evolution of American wildlife art. Dr. Wagner will explain how aesthetic idioms and imagery of American wildlife art evolved, how its ecological ideologies changed with changing circumstances and ideas about animals and their habitats, and how artists and entrepreneurs developed and influenced the genre. He’ll cover early artists like John White and Mark Catesby, who documented the flora and fauna of the New World, through more familiar names like JohnJay Audubon and the collaboration between artist Arthur Tait and Currier & Ives, which brought wildlife art to the masses. Twentieth century and contemporary wildlife artists such as Bob Kuhn and Robert Bateman are included with other artists who continue to influence the genre today. $5 members, $15 nonmembers.  A book signing will follow Dr. Wagner’s presentation.

            Dr. Wagnerwrote his Ph.D. dissertation on American wildlife art at the University of Minnesota while he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. He has been a Juror for the U.S. Department of Interior Federal Duck Stamp competition in Washington, D.C., and has served as Director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.


October 2 (Wednesday)

Noon Gallery Talk on American Wildlife Art

Diane P. Fischer, Chief Curator

Scheller and Rodale Galleries


October 4 and every Friday through December 27

Go-Wild Fridays!

Every Friday at 2 p.m. during the run of the special exhibition American Wildlife Art, a Museum educator will lead a walk-through of the exhibit, pointing out highlights and relating the colorful backstory behind some of these classic artworks. The gallery tour is free with admission. To get the full flavor of the exhibit, stop by the Museum Café before or after the tour for a Wildlife-themed lunch or snack.


October 12 (Saturday)

Bird Day! Birds of the Lehigh Valley

Barbara Malt, Ph.D.


One of the best hawk- and falcon-watching sites in North America is right here in the Lehigh Valley. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary consists of 2,200 acres straddling the Kittatinny Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains, and each fall thousands of raptors migrate through this protected area. Then again, sometimes the birds in our own backyards are just as entertaining. Dr. Malt will cover the diversity and beauty of birds in our area, how to see them, and how to attract them by creating bird-friendly yards. $5 members, $15 nonmembers (includes Museum admission)

            Barbara Malt is Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Psychology department of Lehigh University. She is also vice president of the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society, a member of the Education Committee, and coauthor of Birds of the Lehigh Valley and Vicinity (2002).


October 20 (Sunday)

Animal Symbolism in Asian Embroidery

Swain Fennimore

1 p.m.

Swain Fennimore has been studying, collecting, and lecturing about Asian textiles and snuff bottles for several decades. During this lecture he will offer insight into the symbolism and meaning of the use of animals in Asian imperial clothing and artwork. $5 members, $15 nonmembers


October 27 (Sunday)

An Accidental Sculptor

Eric Berg

1 p.m.

Artist Eric Berg has been creating remarkable wildlife sculptures for more than three decades including our iconic Espanola #21, better known as “Artie the turtle,” located in Art Ways. Ironically, Berg hadn’t intended on being an artist. In this presentation he’ll show us some of his work and talk about how he began with the "hobby" whittlings of his senior year at the Wharton School of Business, to the present, with over fifty public commissions around the United States. From the Smithsonian National Zoo to the Everglades National Park to the California Academy of Natural Science, Berg’s "Hands On" works are touched by millions of people annually. $5 members, $15 nonmembers

            Eric Berg is a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists and has been producing nature-based sculptures from his Philadelphia studio for more than thirty years.



October 27 (Sunday)

Creepy Crawly Critters with the Lehigh Valley Zoo
1-2 p.m.
All ages, Art Ways Interactive Family Gallery

Tarantulas, reptiles, and owls…oh my! Come check out these live critters and more visiting the the Museum with our friends at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Be amazed at all the fun facts you will learn about these critters and get an up-close and personal look at them too! Afterward, visit our Crayola Learning Center with the little ones and make some cool animal-themed art projects to take home. Don’t get spooked and miss this zoo-rrific family event! This program is part of FREE Sundays at the Museum. No registration is required.



November 3 (Sunday)

Fall Festival: Worlds of Wonder
noon-4 p.m.

On this FREE day of Museum happenings, explore the natural world through the magnificent paintings and sculptures of animals and the great outdoors in our special exhibition American Wildlife Art. Then venture into our Crayola Learning Center where wild adventures in art making will engage the young ones. In Art Ways, children’s book authors and illustrators Dave Roman and his wife Raina Telgemeir will present an interactive look at cartoons through Dave's book Astronaut Academy, while Eric Wight and Matt Phelan team up to entertain the crowd with demonstrations of cartoon drawing and talk about techniques for developing characters and storylines.



November 17 (Sunday)

Exploring the West with John James Audubon: The Last Expedition

Robert McCraken Peck, Ph.D

1 p.m.

In the spring of 1843, the well-known naturalist and artist John James Audubon set off from New York City on what was to be his longest and last great expedition of discovery. With a small party the self-proclaimed “American Woodsman” traveled up the Missouri River to the mouth of the Yellowstone. Officially, he was gathering information and specimens for his newly launched book on American mammals, but he was also on the lookout for new birds while fulfilling the quest of a lifetime. Using images of Audubon’s western paintings and the surviving specimens and artifacts gathered during his nine-month expedition, historian Robert McCracken Peck will describe Audubon’s last great adventure and put its accomplishments into the broader context of its time. $5 members, $15 nonmembers

            Robert McCracken Peck, curator of art and artifacts and senior fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, is a writer, naturalist, and historian who has traveled extensively in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. He is the author of numerous books and coauthor of A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Making of American Science.



December 8 (Sunday)

Intersections between Science, Nature, and the Arts

Diane Husic, Ph.D.

1 p.m.

The public tends to have misperceptions about scientists and what they do. Historically, the arts and sciences were not viewed as separate cultures; rather, artists, naturalists, and scientists alike appreciated the beauty and patterns of natural processes. Dr. Diane Husic of the Nurture Nature

Center explores reconnecting these fields (art and science) to engage communities in meaningful dialogs about the threats to our natural environment and to find solutions to local and global challenges. $5 members, $15 nonmembers

            Dr. Husic is professor and chair of Biological Sciences at Moravian College and serves on the boards of the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society and Lehigh Gap Nature Center. She has been an invited speaker at numerous environmental conferences, such as the Ecological Research as Education Network and Pennsylvania’s 2010 Climate Change Conference. The Nurture Nature Center (NNC) in Easton is a

science-based organization that combines science, art, and community dialogue to get people talking and thinking critically about environmental issues in their communities.



American Wildlife Art is made possible with the generous support of the following sponsors:


Major Sponsor:

The Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment


Sustaining Sponsor:

The Audrey and Bernard Berman Endowment Fund


Supporting Sponsors:


Lehigh Valley Womanmagazine

WDIY 88.1 FM—Lehigh Valley Community Public Radio



The Museum also thanks its 2013-2014 Season Sponsors

The Century Fund

William and Phyllis Grube

Rodale Inc.

Adams Outdoor Advertising

The Morning Call

Viamedia Inc.



For more information on American Wildlife Art or on the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, contact Chris Potash, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations for the Museum, at cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org (cpotash [at] allentownartmuseum [dot] org)