Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee’

Animals as artists … seriously

May 8, 2008

Brittany wields her paintbrush with confidence, slapping it roughly against the canvas to produce streaks of green or smears of orange. With apparent pride, she steps back, inspects her work — and extends her trunk to receive a freshly loaded paintbrush.

Brittany, an African elephant, is doing her small part to pay her way at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Her artwork is sold at the zoo’s gift shop to raise funds.

This painting pachyderm is far from the only artistic animal in captivity. For years zoos and aquariums across the country have encouraged animals to paint as a way to keep the penned-up denizens mentally enriched. Typically, the paintings were discarded or set aside.

But officials have recently discovered that animal lovers are willing pay hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars for the creatures’ creations, prompting zoos across the country to study whether their animal artists might be an untapped source of revenue.

The Milwaukee zoo’s gift shop sells about 36 of Brittany’s paintings each year for $30 each.

“She really seems to enjoy painting — she likes creating new things,” elephant trainer Danielle Faucett said.

Click here for the full article.

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