By Susan DeMaggio
More than 150 sculptures and flatworks of animal art are on display at the San Diego Natural History Museum through Oct. 31, part of the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists and the prestigious "Art and the Animal" tour.
Combining natural history and fine art in creative ways, SAA members compete to have their work included in annual exhibitions selected by a jury composed of other members. In addition, an awards jury, composed of distinguished experts who are not members of the SAA, is charged with the difficult task of selecting the top works and bestowing a variety of awards to respective artists.
Artists who have won five or more awards are given the special status of "Master Signature Membership," which qualifies them to bypass the jury and automatically have their work included in future annual exhibitions. Current masters include Charles Allmond, Chris Bacon, Gerald Balciar, Robert Bateman, Burt Brent, Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, Guy Coheleach, Walter Matia, Leo Osborne, Sherry Salari Sander, Morten Solberg and Kent Ullberg.
Wildlife art scholar and author of "American Wildlife Art," Dr. David J. Wagner, serves as tour director for "Art and the Animal," booking the exhibit at more than 50 museums and zoos, in addition to art, cultural and science centers throughout North America.
Following the opening at the San Diego Natural History Museum, the exhibition will travel to The Wildlife Experience in Denver, Dunnegan Gallery of Art and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.
Founded in 1960, the Society of Animal Artists is headquartered in the historic Salmagundi (Art) Club on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Society members come from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
IF YOU GO
'Art and the Animal' tour
San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, through Oct. 31
'All That Glitters: The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals'; 'Fossil Mysteries'; and 'Water: A California Story'