by Karen Whitecotton, Curator of Collections, Oklahoma History Center
The History Center is currently partnering with the Oklahoma City Zoo for Enriched: Animal Art from the OKC Zoo a display of eleven pieces of animal art created by various animals from the zoo. While it sounds pretty tame, the process was amazing and there were a lot of great experiences along the way! Why zoo art? There is something incredibly fascinating about seeing a work of art done by an animal and exploring that creative process. It is a truly unique part of the animal enrichment process.
All artwork created by animals is a part of a process called enrichment. It includes many other activities besides painting and is intended to mentally and physically stimulate animals.
The exhibit concept started about a year ago when I approached the zoo to inquire about getting a piece of their animal art donated to our art collection. A small group of us met and discussed the proposal and an exhibit idea was formed. However, with the Oklahoma @ the Movies exhibit gallery remodel about to start, we had to postpone our plans. Fast forward to this summer and the exhibit was back on the table. We planned to feature twelve pieces in the Chesapeake Event Center. We ended up with eleven pieces in the C .A. Vose Sr. Wing, which allows for more accessibility for educational programming.