See More Birds: Art exhibit at Pearl Street celebrates the beauty of feathered friends

By on January 10, 2018

American Kestrel, “Frost” by Andy Taylor

The Teton Raptor Center has a simple motto: “See more birds.”

It’s about encouraging people to think about, look around and notice birds wherever they are, said Steve Poole, a volunteer and board member at the Teton Raptor Center.

The Teton Raptor Center is making that task even easier this winter. Its exhibit at Pearl Street Bagels features work from about 15 local artists inspired by the raptor’s center education birds.

The center has 14 birds that can’t be released back into the wild, Poole said. Some of the birds have been with the center for years, while others have joined the ranks in just the last few months. They are different ages and species. There are big birds like golden eagles and tiny ones like Eastern screech owls that can fit in the palm of your hand. They might be deaf, or blind, or unable to fly. But at the raptor center they have an important role.

“They are our public face,” Poole said. “They represent the raptor center. People come to the raptor center to see birds.”

This show celebrates those birds, he said.

The raptor center put a call out to local artists who have worked with, or visited the raptor center before. Artists ranging from professionals to high school students submitted work for the show, which goes up Jan. 15. There are oil paintings, water colors, drawings and even a linocut block print on paper, Poole said.

Most of the art is small, from about 3 x 5 up to 24 x 24, to allow as many pieces as possible to hang, Poole said.

The raptor center asked the artists to use the education birds as inspiration. Some came and observed them at the center. Some used photographs. Others created work representing the species instead of a specific bird.

Several organizations, including National Geographic and the Audubon Society, have named 2018 the “Year of the Bird,” Poole said. It’s about highlighting the importance of the birds in our life and thinking about the conservations issues that arise from human interactions with birds, Poole said. The Year of the Bird is about reminding people of their connection to the natural world even in modern times. It’s similar to the raptor center’s goal.

“[If] we can help people understand our place in nature and the value of conserving nature, then we’ve achieved our mission,” Poole said.

The Teton Raptor Center aims to raise awareness about the importance of birds in the world by teaching people about different species and their role in people’s lives. For instance, an owl might eat the gophers that make mounds in your yard, or eagles scavenge carrions, which reduces diseases.

But nothing really connects people to birds better than actually seeing birds.

“For some of us, to see an eagle so close — our human perception of an eagle in a tree 100 yards away is so different than seeing an eagle 10-feet away sitting on someone’s hand,” Poole said. “It’s like seeing the super moon rise over the mountain you look at every day. It’s so different than seeing it when its way up in the sky with no scale. That perspective of closeness allows us to see things we don’t normally see.”

That’s why the education birds are so important, Poole said. They change how people think about birds. The exhibit is meant to celebrate those birds and also continue helping people follow the Teton Raptor Center’s motto to “see more birds,” everyday, everywhere, even when getting coffee and a bagel. PJH

Teton Raptor Center art exhibition at Pearl Street Bagels, hangs Jan. 15 through Feb. 15

Artists in the show: Shannon Marie Schacht, Alissa Hartmann, Lisa Laurie, Andy Taylor, Conrad Hunt, Nicole Gaitan, David Watson, Emily Poole, Jordan Walker, Jocelyn Slack, Annaliese Mayor, Shane Cranston

About Kelsey Dayton

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