What do rewilding and art have in common?

October 1, 2015

Today, Rewilding Europe and the Artists for Nature Foundation have officially started cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Both organizations have identified synergies and complementarities between their vision, mission and activities and have agreed to explore working together. Combining art and rewilding – at a first glance this is maybe an unexpected connection, but if one looks in more detail it is evident and inspiring.

Ceiba landscape (Oil on Linnen)
Ceiba landscape (Oil on Linnen)
Marco Martinez / Equador

The signing ceremony took place in the atelier of one of the artist’s members Piet Eggen, along the river Reest in Drenthe, the Netherlands. This beautiful lowland river has still much of it’s original character and has been rewilded, to restore the hydrological processes and improve its connectivity between different nature reserves. An ideal setting for starting this partnership.

Artists for Nature Foundation (ANF), established in 1990, is a unique, non-profit organisation that uses the creative output of artists producing paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, inspired and mostly created on location by renowned and talented artists from all over the world as a medium to draw attention to the need for nature to be appreciated as an essential element of sustainable development. ANF is proud of its 14 successful projects on 4 continents involving over 130 artists that it has planned, facilitated, raised funds for, project managed and completed with great success – and to great acclaim. ANF acts as a catalyst for nature conservation and is not itself a formal nature conservation organisation.

ANF typically draws the attention of policy- and decision-makers to the natural world by enabling groups of influential and talented artists to capture the spirit of endangered landscapes and species in their natural habitat. Professionally mounted exhibitions of their artworks, DVD’s and books that tell the story of each project and place have become collector’s items that show and tell the stories of the specific area.  ANF always works together with local schools in the project areas. The artists take the pupils and their teachers out in the field and point out the special elements e.g. characteristic plants or trees, birds, livestock and wildlife. Side by side the pupils paint and draw with the artists in the open air and later back in the classroom they work together on mono prints or a mural.

Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe (left) and Ysbrand Brouwers, CEO of Artists for Nature Foundation (right) signing the Memorandum of Understanding.
Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe (left) and Ysbrand Brouwers, CEO of Artists for Nature Foundation (right) signing the Memorandum of Understanding.
Hans Geuzen / ANF

— ‘’The unique approach of ANF is of great interest to our initiative and our partners in the rewilding areas across Europe’’, says Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe. ‘’The the artists’ enthusiasm and their artwork create a lot of positive vibe and pride among local people, who often don’t realise how special their area and its wildlife are’’.

— ‘’I strongly believe that effective nature conservation must go hand in hand with environmental education’’, says Ysbrand Brouwers, CEO of Artists for Nature Foundation. ‘’To reconnect people with the area in which they live we start with the next generation. The Rewilding Europe areas give our artists an ideal platform to work with local children, their parents and teachers’’.

The core of the partnership between the two organisations is to have ANF projects taking place in all the rewilding landscapes in the Rewilding Europe portfolio. A first pilot is planned for 2016 in Rewilding Europe’s newest rewilding landscape, the Oder Delta. Fundraising efforts are taking place for all the other rewilding areas in Europe as well.


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