The Lemur Conservation Foundation builds awareness about and inspires action to protect endangered lemurs and their habitat through art. The Mianatra Center for Lemur Studies houses LCF’s art collection, which includes lemur-themed work by such artists as Jean Blackburn, Craig Rubadoux, Judy North, Joseph Santore, Barbara Sandler, and Alexis Rockman, as well as LCF founder and artist Penelope Bodry-Sanders.
One of LCF’s most recent acquisitions, made possible by Elizabeth Moore and Christopher Downey, is a painting by Sarasota artist Vicki Chelf, Red Ruffs and Roses. Inspired by a visit to our reserve and the theme of the same name for our 2019 gala, she created this piece for the event. The artwork debuted in the benefit’s silent auction featuring lemur-themed pieces from our collection. In the painting, Chelf explores the deforestation that daily threatens lemurs even as it celebrates the beauty of the animals juxtaposed next to a bouquet of roses, an everlasting symbol of love, promise, new beginnings, and hope.
LCF art projects have included:
⋅ Vanishing, an exhibit at Art Center Sarasota of pieces from the LCF collection representing nearly 20 artists.
⋅ The Ako Project, a series of bilingual picture books about the lemurs of Madagascar, the a collaboration of art and science with watercolorist Deborah Ross and Dr. Alison Jolly, a renowned primatologist.
⋅ MadagaSCARS, an award-winning 5-minute flash animation created by artist Camille Wainer that captures the urgent environmental and social issues that threaten the future of wildlife and humans on the island of Madagascar.
⋅ An “AesthetoBlitz” with faculty from long-time partner Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD); 11 instructors spent a day at the reserve observing our free-ranging lemurs in their forest habitat, inspiring artwork that they created to illicit empathy and action for these endangered primates.
LCF World Lemur Festival
A significant outcome of the AesthetoBlitz was the compassion and enthusiasm of RCAD Computer Animation instructor George Cwirko-Godyki. Along with curator and LCF Art Committee member Mark Ormond, Cwirko-Godyki inspired another collaboration with RCAD to bring the first World Lemur Festival to Sarasota. In 2018, RCAD hosted the event on its campus at the Alfred R. Goldstein Library, with a juried lemur-themed art exhibit among the highlights.
During the 2018 Sarasota event, LCF also presented activities for all ages — films, talks, a drawing demo, face painting, children’s games, and an Ako storytime. Art submissions were received from over 20 RCAD students for the exhibit. Due to its success, the festival was hosted on the campus again in 2019. First place artists earned the distinction of becoming LCF Lemur Artist of the Year.
The World Lemur Festival is a series of international events held throughout the world in October, in the weeks surrounding World Lemur Day, to celebrate lemurs and raise awareness for lemur conservation. LCF has been supporting the World Lemur Festival in Andapa, Madagascar, and events have been held in Hungary, Japan, Canada, Germany, and several cities in the U.S.
LCF Art Collection
We’re pleased to share a small representation of our extensive collection, including the 2018 World Lemur Festival 1st place piece by RCAD student Tara Lei Norton.