Photos: Animals at the Niabi Zoo create pieces of art

COAL VALLEY, Illinois — Animals at the Niabi Zoo tried their hands, er… paws, at some artwork.

Animals and their zookeepers worked together to create one-of-a-kind artwork that is set to be on display for visitors.

The art pieces were created using non-toxic tempera paint and on a voluntary basis, according to a statement from the zoo.  Among the artists were Keeya, a Black and White Colobus monkey, Tod the Fox Snake, Cleo the African Leopard, and Azul, a Wolf’s Guenon.

“Incorporating daily behavioral and environmental enrichment opportunities is part of Niabi’s mission,” said Tammy Schmidt, assistant director, Niabi Zoo. “This artistic program compliments an established, all-encompassing enrichment program which provides an elevated level of welfare and wellness by stimulating all the animals’ senses along with their physical and psychological wellbeing.”

The gallery will be open as a fundraiser from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 17.  The pieces will be available for purchase, ranging in price between $10 and $100.  All of the proceeds will go toward the zoo’s animal enrichment programs.  Each piece of artwork will come with a certificate of authenticity as well as a fact sheet about how the piece was created.

Presentations about animal enrichment are set for 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the zoo classroom.

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