a chimpanzee art contest

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Chimpanzees, as anyone who bawled their eyes out watching Project Nim can attest, are not people, but our genetically almost identical cousins. They have a lot in common with us–and that apparently includes making art. They may not congregate in, and then be priced out of the hippest neighborhoods, wear complicated scarves, and bemoan man’s inhumanity to man-chimp. But at the very least, you can take a retired chimp, give her some paints, and there will be a little bit of abstract impressionism in front of you at the end of the session.
Right now, the Humane Society is running an art contest with six of those retired chimps–creative ladies and gentlemen who had been rescued from a grim life in medical research or “entertainment” and placed in one of six sanctuaries around the country.
According to the Humane Society, chimpanzee art serves several purposes. It gives retired animals in sanctuaries an activity; it allows human observers of the work to discover that, perhaps, Jamie of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington, is able to create an image that expresses how she feels inside; and the attention from chimp art is a hook for fundraising at sanctuaries around the country.
As far as how the chimps come to be painting or develop their particular aesthetic, a Humane Society spokesperson told us: “Chimpanzees at sanctuaries are provided with several enrichment activities and painting happens to be one of them. For those chimpanzees who have expressed interest in painting [!], they are given the necessary supplies and the freedom to create what they choose and how they choose. For example, one participating chimpanzee, Brent from Chimp Haven, only paints with his tongue. And another chimpanzee, Jamie from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest likes to paint on nontraditional surfaces like toys and walls. Each chimp’s way of painting is entirely unique to them.”
The winner of the contest will earn his or her sanctuary a prize from the Humane Society. Winners will be announced August 29, and the paintings will be auctioned off to benefit the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. Voting is open online now until August 22, and your opinion will be factored into the decision-making process (along with guest judge Jane Goodall!). Or you can return to the site and distribute your votes evenly–artists are sensitive, after all.

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RIPLEY was used as an "actor" and eventually dumped in a roadside zoo. He now lives at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida.


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RIPLEY


JENNY was born on May 19, 1995, at LEMSIP, a former biomedical research laboratory in New York. She now resides at the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

JENNY was born on May 19, 1995, at LEMSIP, a former biomedical research laboratory in New York. She now resides at the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Kentucky.


JENNY

JENNY

JAMIE is the boss of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington.

JAMIE is the boss of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington.


JAMIE

JAMIE


PATTI was born September 11, 1982, and was a performer at Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo, California. She resides at Chimps, Inc. in Bend, Oregon.

PATTI was born September 11, 1982, and was a performer at Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo, California. She resides at Chimps, Inc. in Bend, Oregon.


PATTI

PATTI


CHEETAH, estimated to be born in the 1970s, lived alone in a laboratory for 19 years and now lives at Save The Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

CHEETAH, estimated to be born in the 1970s, lived alone in a laboratory for 19 years and now lives at Save The Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Florida.


CHEETAH

CHEETAH


BRENT is 37 years old and lives at Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana.

BRENT is 37 years old and lives at Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana.


BRENT

BRENT


[via Fast Co. | Co. Create]

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Tom Foerstel : Founder & President

Tom Foerstel

Founder & President

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.

 

He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.

 

An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.

 

One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.