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Professor Animalia’s Menagerie of Struggling Species

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Our April exhibit, Professor Animalia’s Menagerie of Struggling Species raises environmental awareness through the sideshow banner genre. This concept reflects a culmination of Joe and Bess Lee’s past experiences, both professionally and personally: Joe’s work with actual circuses and as an illustrator and Bess’s career as a public school art teacher and painter. Animalia is a reflection of these experiences as individual artists and concerned citizens. A reflection that will continue as a major focus in their work for years to come: creating art, creating community and creating awareness of the fragility of the planet.

Using sideshow banners, Joe and Bess Lee combine whimsical, joyful folk art with the serious pathos of extinction. Circus and sideshow banners and posters are stylized visual promotions, displaying our awe with the sword swallower, the frightening and exhilarating heights of the trapeze artists, the hurtling human cannonball, etc. Their work juxtaposes those visual promotions with “death-defying monarch butterflies” teetering on the high-wire, a roly-poly act of life and death with a black Rhino, an elephant balancing the globe precariously from her perch atop a human finger, and on, and on. Illuminating the circumstances of these animals with a touching pathos.
Jim Poyser, director of Earth Charter, Indianapolis, will also be joining us for a talk about Earth Charter and the environment.

A percentage of art sales will be donated to Earth Charter.

Opening Reception:
Friday, April 6

Refreshments will be provided by Lucky's Market!

212 W. 4TH ST

Gallery Hours:
Monday - Friday

Show will hang till 4/27

Earth Charter:

Earth Charter, Indiana is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana that has fraternal relationships with Earth Charter U.S. and Earth Charter International. Their charter states: “Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.” Jim Poyser is involved in education programs all over the state of Indiana, with public and private schools and institutions that wish to learn about sustainable solutions to saving our planet.