In 2019, four Florida zoos purchased a collection of 16 Kenyan Metal African sculptures to be shared equally amongst Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Naples Zoo and Caribbean Gardens, Brevard Zoo and Palm Beach Zoo. The collection will rotate for two years with each zoo displaying them for six months. Several of the sculptures will remain permanently at Palm Beach Zoo following the tour. This collection highlights the Zoo’s commitment to diversity, equity and support of all cultures. Full viewing of the African collection runs through Summer 2021.
These artisans, called the Ark Collective, come from impoverished, disadvantaged backgrounds and are paid apprentices recruited by the Wildlife Garden Creations in Kenya. This project helps them learn valuable skills such as welding, metal cutting, and designing, which are essential to the art of sculpting three-dimensional pieces. Through this artistic endeavor, the sculptors have become self-sustaining and productive artisans in their communities.
Palm Beach Zoo is for lovers of wildlife and artistically minded tourists. Visitors can enjoy learning about the hundreds of exotic and endangered animals, as well as stroll the Zoo’s outdoor works of art and architecture.The Zoo’s collection includes the newly acquired works such as the 14’ Edwina Sandys’ Eve’s Apple (on loan from the artist). Sandys is the granddaughter of the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill.
Two of local artist Steven Rose’s Running Bears bronze sculptures are found near the Bear Den. They were donated to the Zoo by the late artist’s wife and generous Zoo supporter Dale Coudert and depict bears running.
More art is present at the Zoo for visitors to enjoy year round from the Michael Singer designed Zoo Entrance, to the realistic Mayan Plaza and beyond. Local artist Geoffrey Smith’s swimming Otter Bronze sculpture is located across from the North American River Otter Aquatic Habitat. It wonderfully depicts the fun-loving nature of these popular animals.
The Zoo also showcases a number of bronze statues by unknown artists including a Tiger Bronze sculpture in Tiger Forest; a Tortoise Bronze sculpture near the Aldabra tortoise habitat; Monkeying Around bronze sculpture near the serval habitat; and a Panther Bronze sculpture near the Panther Prowl habitats. These statues are common backgrounds for the innumerable family photos taken at the Zoo.
The 30’ high Mayan Temple stone replicas, Mayan stone sculptures and authentic Mayan artistic tiles are featured heavily in the Tropics of the Americas Mayan Plaza, home to jaguars and squirrel monkeys. At the entrance into Tropics of the Americas, the George and Harriet Cornell Bronze sculptures by local artist Kate VanNoorden accompanied by local artist Rene Heading’s Bronze Dog can be seen.The generous zoo supporters depicted made the South and Latin American section of the Zoo possible. A jungle-themed depot gift shop, as well as, concessions stands and an indoor/outdoor café are found in this area of the Zoo.
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