National Aviary sets annual Wings and Wildlife Art Show

November 15, 2018

Not all of the National Aviary’s birds will be in cages or on perches on Nov. 3 and 4.

Many of the exotic feathered beauties will be recreated on jewelry, photographs, canvas, wood, glass, fiber, ceramics and paper as part of the fourth annual Wings and Wildlife Public Art Show and Marketplace that focuses on artists inspired by wildlife and conservation.

Laurie Nicholl, director of philanthropy for the Aviary, said the juried show and accompanying Opening Soiree and Benefit Auction on Nov. 2 gives local and national artists an opportunity to showcase and sell their work while benefiting the facility’s avian medicine, education and conservation programs.

At the 2018 Wings and Wildlife Art Show and Marketplace, the director said visitors will meet talented artists and makers from five states, have an opportunity to purchase unique handmade pieces, and find gifts in a wide variety of mediums and price points.

Opening Soiree, Benefit Auction

Guests ages 21 and up with valid ID may choose to view the Wings and Wildlife Art Show at an Opening Soirée and Benefit Auction featuring the National Aviary Maker Challenge from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 2.

The Challenge is an 18-month initiative in which local makers create original pieces inspired by National Aviary birds. Guests will have an opportunity to bid on artwork and other prizes. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served.

A ticket also includes admission to the Aviary on Nov. 3-4. Proceeds benefit the National Aviary’s avian medicine, education and conservation programs.

Tickets are $100 each and are available at aviary.org.

Featured artists

Some of the featured artists and makers at the Wings and Wildlife Art Show include:

Jessica Botzan of Parks Township, Vandergrift, displaying and selling her felted bird and animal sculptures and holiday ornaments. “I’ve always been captivated by birds since I was young,” she says. “I came across the sculpting method of using wool, called needle felting, online one day and I was amazed at how realistic the art could be. I really enjoy how therapeutic the method is and how it can produce very detailed pieces, depending on how you work the fiber.” She participated in the Aviary’s Makers Challenge.

Cindy Mayer-Strosser of Ford City, who specializes in reverse glass painting at her Croaking Crow Studio. The technique involves painting on the inside of the glass, starting with details first and using layers of glass with separate elements on each layer.

Maria DeSimone Prascak of South Side Slopes, met her husband, Johno Prascak, also an artist, at the Wings and Wildlife Art Show in 1988. Her paintings include a life-size hand-painted mural, flamingos, sloths, birds living at the Aviary and various flora and fauna creations. She will have originals, canvas and metal prints, also reproductions starting at $15. “The Aviary will always have a very special place in my heart,” she says.

Sarah Cohen of Bloomfield, owner of PetalVision Glass, who will be showcasing glass jewelry that incorporates real shed feathers, gold leaf and natural flower petals into glass lenses that magnify the materials’ beautiful patterns. “Looking at natural materials with a critical eye, bringing awareness and respect to birds is a catalyst that drives the creation of these glass pieces,” she says. PetalVision will be featured in the Aviary gift shop in December for the Maker Challenge.

Lindsay Wright of Greenfield, who will have prints, posters, greeting cards and postcards of her realistic artwork with scientific themes. “I typically work in color pencil to bring out the bright colors and detail of nature using my knowledge in the sciences to draw accurate illustrations,” she says. “These illustrations are not only of birds, but also their distance ancestors -- dinosaurs, and other creatures like bullfrogs, coyotes, butterflies and bees.”


Wings and Wildlife Public Art Show and Marketplace

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4

Admission free with Aviary admission: $16 adults, $14 seniors and ages 2-12; children under 2 are free

Where: The National Aviary, North Side, Pittsburgh

Details: www.aviary.org

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