Artists for Conservation Meet in Houston

Executives and officials from zoos and public aquariums all over the country are meeting in Houston this week. They're talking about the conservation programs they're involved in around the world, and, they're exploring the use of art to get people involved in conservation. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

The Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation conference is held every two years to promote and grow the role they both play in supporting conservation programs. Canadian nature artist Jeffrey Whiting is there representing a group called Artists for Conservation, which he says was created to use art to support nature conservation.

"The purpose of the ZACC conference is to bring together zoos, aquariums, NGOs, and conservation organizations internationally, such as our organization, the Artists for Conservation Foundation, to get together and talk about some of the conservation issues we are faced with, and how we can work together to support the cause."

Their common "cause" is conservation of the natural world, and Whiting says the 500 artists in his organization are generating millions of dollars for conservation programs by selling their nature paintings, sculptures and photographs on the Artists For Conservation website.

"We have a tally of nearly 13 million in the last two years that's been pledged through this website. Those are, again, to emphasis, potential pledges. It's contingent on the artwork selling. But that's to give you an idea of the magnitude of the concern and will that's within the artists community."

Whiting says nature artists, zoos and aquariums are a natural fit with all sorts of common ground, because they all want the same thing: to preserve nature in all its forms. There's more information about Artists for Conservation, and links to their work on the website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.