Tulsa NatureWorks Art Show proceeds benefit environmental conservation
TNE Editor

Tulsa NatureWorks Art Show proceeds benefit environmental conservation

Published 2/23/17

Kelsey Baucom

TNE Writer

The NatureWorks Art Show makes its annual return to Tulsa to showcase nature-themed art and contribute to conservation efforts across the state. Lovers of art and the environment will come together at the show to view sculptures, carvings and paintings that are exclusively based on elements within nature. NatureWorks will showcase artists from across the country who have gained inspiration for their work from different wildlife and landscapes.

“One of the more engaging aspects of our art show is the opportunity to visit with these artists about their work,” said David Butler, NatureWorks volunteer. “It really helps bring the art to life and is interesting to learn how the artist created a specific piece”

Of the many artists on display, a handful of them were chosen by NatureWorks to be specially featured. Their work will be exhibited throughout the entire show and sale. Thirty percent of each art piece sold will support the conservation and development of Oklahoma’s natural habitats, as well as the wildlife within those areas. The rest will go back to the artists.

NatureWorks is a nonprofit, all-volunteer group that desires to educate community members about the importance about preserving the environment. In addition to the annual art show, they also raise money through private donations that help pay for the lifesize bronze wildlife sculptures that are given to the city of Tulsa each year. Since 1994, Natureworks has donated over two dozen statues to be displayed throughout the city.

“We make money at these art shows so we can turn around and give it away,” said Pete Messler, NatureWorks board member.

Messler said the art show will feature about fifty artists, including some of Tulsa’s own local artists. He said NatureWorks has to turn away artists every year because the show has become so well known.

“It’s something we love doing,” said Messler. “I don’t think there’s another group like it in the country that gives $100,000 worth of wildlife statues to the city each year and has done so for more than 20 years.”

The show’s featured artist this year is a sculptor named Bryce Pettit. He studied biology and ecology in college, but he loved creating art, as well. He realized he could follow his passion and make a career as a sculptor of the wildlife he loved to experience firsthand.

“I love animals and the outdoors more than anything,” said Pettit. “At first, I took any sculpting job I could find, which included creating architectural details and hardware for large companies.”

He eventually learned to utilize his skills to create beautiful bronze sculptures depicting wildlife and elements of nature.

“I have always had a great love for animals and the natural world,” said Pettit. “I just want to tell a story with the least amount of information possible.”

One local example of his work is a large bronze statue of a scissor-tailed flycatcher that resides in the Tulsa International Airport. Residents may recognize Pettit’s name since he sculpted the piece for NatureWorks in 2015.

Pettit’s recent pieces, along with many other nationally renowned artists’ work, will be on display at the NatureWorks Art Show and Sale from Feb. 24-26 at the Tulsa Renaissance Hotel.

To learn more about NatureWorks and how to get involved, visit natureworks.org.

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