Supporting Wildlife Conservation through Art

Lion by Clint Matheny

Steuben Holds Silent Auction to Help Endangered Species

African Wildlife Conservation doesn’t seem to have much to do with the public arts or art exhibits. Most art exhibits are well-publicized public events that last for a few weeks and are kicked-off with an opening party attended by friends and art patrons. But there is also another kind of art exhibit that is a bit more ephemeral lasting only 24 hours and the gala opening serves as the closing as well. These one-nighters are silent art auctions for charity and one has to be lucky to find out about the event in order to attend. Generally speaking, the silent auction is not advertised to the public but to a targeted select list of collectors and it isn’t easy to find out where they may be happening. But in the case of a recent show at Steuben on behalf of the  African Wildlife Foundation, the search was worth it! 



Endangered Animals in Africa Protected by Crystal

The theme of the evening was wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species. As makers of the world’s finest crystal and glass, Steuben has a long history of recreating the natural world in crystal and its collaborative relationships with artists such as Kiki Smith, is an appropriate fine arts sponsor for the African Wildlife Foundation Fundraiser. The AWF is dedicated to rebalancing the relationship between mankind and the endangered animals found in the fragile landscape of Africa and the silent auction artists were chosen for the expression of their empathy with the animal world in their art. And the roster was impressive!     

Photography of Wildlife & Original Art

Upon first entering the Steuben gallery, one was confronted by Gina Magid’s large watercolor on paper of a ephemeral tiger and his powerful reflection in the water below. Next, was Hunt Slonem’s vigorous painting of a parrot and a Karen Heagle nude being suggestively visited by a snake rendered in ink wash. The Hilton Brothers (Chris Makos and Paul Solberg) created a visceral sensation with their photo diptych of a massive horse’s chest paired with a fragile stem of eucalyptus. John Huba, Jean DeBartolo and Robin Rice donated magnificent images of endangered elephants and the wildlife photography of Sheila Metzner, Richie Williamson and Clint Metheny were represented by lions in their natural African habitat. Wayne Maser, Marie Havens, Peter Bogardus and William Coupon turned their camera lens towards the people of the endangered African habitat, capturing the fragile harmony of mankind with his environment.     

Gallery at Steuben Glass

Gina Magrid painting on paper hanging in the Steuben Gallery

The artists who donate to a charity fundraiser, such wildlife preservation, offer an opportunity for the buyer to not only purchase their work at a discount (if they are lucky) but also receive a tax-deduction from the IRS. Non-profit organizations depend on the generosity of artists who believe in their causes as an important resource in their fundraising. In exchange, the artists get to donate to causes they find compelling and the union of cause, ethics, and belief creates a powerful event that echoes long after the evening is over. In an interview with Lesley Hauge and Sian Ballen for the New York Social Diary, Hunt Slonem says about animals “They’re here to comfort us….they are here to help us.” And it is imperative that mankind helps endangered animals and contribute to wildlife preservation.     

A good online resource for finding out about upcoming charity events in the New York City area is by checking: 

Additional Wildlife Protection Efforts

In addition to the silent auction to support African Wildlife conservation Steuben has introduced The Big 5 Collection. To support these endangered habitats of these species, from September through December 10% of all proceeds from these designs will benefit the African Wildlife Foundation. Steuben has also begun a social effort to bring awareness to the need to protect the Big 5 on Facebook with a cause campaign. More information regarding theCause to Protect the Big 5 can be found on the Steuben Facebook page at 




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One response to “Supporting Wildlife Conservation through Art”

  1. Thanks for the mention Jen :)

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