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Anniversary artist ‘in residence’ exhibition to open

By Staff | Feb 18, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Ed Anderson took inspiration from roseate spoonbills, the refuge's official 75th anniversary birds, during his “residency” at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Idaho wildlife artist Ed Anderson kicked off the 75th anniversary celebration of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge last summer with an eight-week artist “in residence” educational program, where he gathered inspiration during daily visits to the refuge.

The results of the inspiration – about a dozen paintings and art journal entries – will go on exhibit from Feb. 25 to April 24 in the Visitor & Education Center auditorium. On Feb. 25, a reception will be held at 9 a.m. featuring refreshments and an artist appearance, including a “live paint” performance.

“Our refuge was created by conservation artist Jay Norwood ‘Ding’ Darling in 1945, so it’s more than fitting that we began 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, many of them conservation-related, throughout the 1920s and ’30s.”

Admission to the exhibition is free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Thursday.

During the exhibit, the Refuge Nature Store will be selling one-of-a-kind souvenirs featuring Anderson’s art to benefit conservation and education efforts at the refuge.

During his artist “in residence” program, Anderson was involved in a number of projects focused on wildlife and journaling art. He mentored students from the Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida and PACE Center for Girls, engaging them in mural projects. He also did pop-up art sessions along Wildlife Drive and conducted formal art and journaling workshops and demonstrations.

“It was exciting to be inspired by the refuge’s beauty and some of ‘Ding’ Darling’s famous conservation cartoons,” Anderson said. “Darling could be considered one of the original wildlife doodling storytellers, and that’s essentially how I work.”

Anderson’s art has been published in publications around the United States. In the interest of conservation, he has donated his work to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Captains for Clean Water and other non-profits. He has been visiting Sanibel since his childhood, for some 40 years. For more about his work, visit edandersonart.com.

To read about Anderson’s “Ding” Darling artist “in residence” programs, which was sponsored by the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation, go to dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/artist-in-residence.

The refuge’s 75th anniversary will culminate on Dec. 1. For information, visit ding75.org.