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‘Ding’ artist ‘in residence’ takes art outreach to Fort Myers

By Staff | Jun 19, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Ed Anderson paints with the students at Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida.

As part of his eight-week artist “in residence” program at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, wildlife artist Ed Anderson recently created a wildlife mural with at-risk youth at Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is sponsoring the artist “in residence” program, with support from the Rockwell Fund, as part of the refuge’s 75th anniversary celebration.

About 15 children ages six to 12 participated with Anderson in the mural project, creating an 8-by-8-foot tableau of a snowy egret and fish in the mangroves, a common scene at “Ding” Darling. Once Anderson finishes touching up the mural, it will return to the center to become part of its art room.

“Ed truly brightened the faces of the kids he mentored with art at Quality Life,” Refuge Ranger Monica Scroggin, who assisted with the mural creation, said. “The mission of the refuge is to find how to introduce kids to wildlife in many different ways, and art is an important one of them. This was a team effort that tied in directly with Quality Life’s positive philosophy.”

Later this month, Anderson will lead an art workshop at the refuge for the Lee County PACE Center for Girls, sponsored by the Gardner Families. Also, DDWS will provide a fully funded field trip for the Quality Life Center to the refuge in July, including transportation and on-site programming.

“Our refuge was created by conservation artist Jay Norwood ‘Ding’ Darling in 1945, so it’s more than fitting that we begin celebrating our 75th anniversary with interpretive art programs,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said. “Darling, who created the Federal Duck Stamp program, designed the first duck stamp and the refuge system’s Blue Goose logo. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice for his popular political cartoons throughout the 1920s and ’30s.”

For more information about Anderson’s work, visit edandersonart.com.

To keep up to date on the refuge’s 75th anniversary celebration, visit ding75.org.

To support field trips to the refuge and learn of other opportunities, contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.