This September, AFC wrapped up its 5th annual Artists for Conservation Festival - the longest and most ambitious one yet, spanning two major venues and three weekends and incorporating an Art Expo for the first time. The event welcomed public of all ages with a variety of interests - fine art, environment and conservation. It also brought together over forty AFC artists, a small army of dedicated volunteers, and supporters including RE/MAX, Deeley Harley Davidson Canada, our gracious hosts Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and Grouse Mountain and many other supporters and patrons.
John Banovich headlined as featured International Expo Artist and was joined by 11 others including Brent Cooke (2016 Festival Patron), Terry Isaac, Mary Jane Jessen, David Kitler, Kim Middleton, Murray Phillips, Esther Sample, Nathan Scott, James Stewart, Joyce Trygg, Terry Woodall and Jeff Whiting.
Brent Cooke, 2015 Festival Patron featured his bronze sculpture "Silent and Serene" - a full-sized Great Blue Heron bronze sculpture with proceeds to benefit the Festival and it's public education programs. Renowned African artist and anti-poaching activist, Karen Laurence-Rowe travelled from her home in Kenya to receive AFC's highest honor - the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award.
Many AFC artist members joined us for the opening of the three-week event and generously contributed their time to give presentations, lead workshops, and provide painting demonstrations. AFC's volunteer team of volunteers played a pivotal role in the success of the festival covering many shifts over an unprecedented 3 weeks at two venues.
For an idea of the full range of public activities and participants that transpired during the Festival, visit the AFC Festival site and AFC's Facebook page. Stay tuned for 2016 AFC Festival dates.
This year the 8th Annual Live Exhibit featured 87 works, including 75 wall hangings and 12 sculptures representing 13 different countries. Over 20,000 visitors attended the Festival at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in downtown Vancouver and at Grouse Mountain Resort in North Vancouver over the event duration. AFC would like to thank RE/MAX for their continued sponsorship and the Fairmont Waterfront and Grouse Mountain for hosting the festival. The 200 works accepted this year can now be viewed on AFC's Virtual Exhibit.
Gala Fundraiser and Awards Night
The Annual Gala Fundraiser was a beautiful evening to celebrate artistic excellence, our natural world and to honor those artists who have made an enormous commitment to conservation. This year Guy Combes returned to present the Simon Combes Conservation Award to fellow Kenyan artists Karen Laurence-Rowe. Awards of excellence were presented to Terry Woodall, Frank Walsh and John Banovich who were in attendance. Over 30 AFC artists attended the event all corners of the globe. Brent Cooke this year's festival patron gave a special speech addressing the unique relationship AFC as a charity has of bring together two fields of study the arts and sciences. Calvin Dyck and Betty Sunderman were the evening musical guests.
The featured fundraising event at the Gala evening was the "Live Raptor Quick Draw". An all-star cast of 3 artists (David Kitler, Guy Combes, Esther Sample) put themselves in the "hot-seat" for one hour painting beautiful live birds (courtesy of OWL Rehabilitation Centre) to the delight of gala attendees.
Musical Celebration of Nature in Art
Bringing performance art to the stage at AFC's first Musical Celebration of Nature in Art local Vancouver musicians filled the gallery with art and nature inspired musical that was larger than life. Violist, Thomas Beckman performed a piece especially composed to be listened to alongside the viewing of AFC Virtual Exhibit. Andrew Kim and Edgar Muenala brought the sounds of distant places with the sitar and pan flutes while Post Modern Camerata filled the gallery with a special rendition of Vivaldi's Gloria bringing the evening to a beautiful finally. It was a wonderful evening for everyone who joined in the celebrations and came out to support AFC.
As part of this year's opening weekend in the heart of downtown Vancouver eleven AFC Artists to participate in a three day Art Expo.
Grouse Mountain - Family Weekend Activities
AFC's two weekends dedicated to family fun, adventures and education saw a lively exchange of musicians, arts and crafts activities and wildlife encounters. Cultural performances by William Nahanee and First Nations carving demonstrations by master sculptors Xwa-lack-tun & Huuyaa took place.
Youth art and environmental education program
Throughout the week AFC dedicated it's space and resources to providing a wildlife and art experience for Vancouver's underserved youth. Nearly 200 students participated in a full day of art and environment immersion which included: AFC documentaries, meeting Cleo the barn owl Grouse Mountain's wildlife ambassador, a guided gallery visit, an introduction to bronze casting, an eco-walk around Grouse Lake, and a one hour hands on workshop with AFC President and Founder Jeffrey Whiting and visiting AFC Australian artist Paula Wiegmink.
AFC would like to send out an enormous thank you to all of our volunteers who dedicated their time, efforts and enthusiasm throughout the festival. We couldn't have done it without you!
In recognition of our sponsors and community partners: