"Do Not Let Them Go Extinct!" (2022). Maria Bronkema. Acrylic and collage on paper. 11 x 16.75 in.

When Fountain House Gallery selected an exhibition proposal I wrote about animals, I knew I also wanted to co-curate this project because it would be an amazing experience. I thank Gallery Director Rachel Weisman for that opportunity. Animals have always fascinated me with their incredible way of family, plus their survival. 


Recently I, along with co-curator Dr. Giovanni Aloi, selected works to be presented in the show. Giovanni is Editor-in-Chief of Antennae Project, Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago plus Sotheby's Institute of Art. His thought shows animals are creative by nature, not so much driven by instinct. Becky Wilkening, Gallery & Studio Coordinator, said, “This show drew the greatest number of submissions of any since I started here – about 170 submissions, which were narrowed down to 25 pieces.” 



"Who's the Master?" (2022). Anthony Newton. Mixed media on paper. 20 x 16 in. 

The show will be on view from September 15 through October 26, 2022. We made sure to choose art that represented different styles of expression in painting, collage, assemblage, photography, arts and crafts, and more. 


Sometimes we laughed with the works, or they challenged us with questions around ourselves as they animated us. No doubt highly intelligent animals have observed us as we have them and have given us a sense of peace, compassion. We answer existential questions about humanity with them. We are bound together. They prompt us to ask, “Why do we surround ourselves with them to contemplate them?” 



"Forever Feeding" (2021). Timothy Bronkema. Digital photography. 

We are bound as residents of one Earth to conserve all animal diversity. In my opinion they restore our humanity as animals are beloved friends, children, partners to us.  Our folk history has symbols rich with animals, such as our American flag which has the majestic eagle. Female elephants remind me of the nurturers as they protect the herd youngsters like aunts. The weasel is the incredible all year sly hunter with its most powerful bite. 


I would like to thank Giovanni, Rachel, Becky, and FHG Social Practitioner Elaine Lynders for making this Animal Crossing show possible and also thank the artists for their interest and for their incredible art! Everyone who attended an animal drawing class of mine, and later, my husband Timothy’s, plus Fountain House Gallery staff, had so much enthusiasm around animals that encouraged everyone’s ability to create art!! I thank FHG Communications Advisor Camille Tibaldeo for sending me animal videos, especially one about the mama sloth who got her lost baby cub back after it was found by a roadside and returned by a caring lady. From a tree she reached urgently forward with her extended arm to grab and fold her cub within herself. Additionally, Rachel was wonderful to collaborate with in writing a statement about how the Animal Crossing show was important for helping people to think about and take action regarding our animals, who are decreasing in alarming numbers.


Learn more about the show here: https://www.fountainhousegallery.org/show/fountain-house-gallery-animal-crossing



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