Art and conservation mix at Grouse Mountain festival


It’s not really an art show. Not exactly a science lecture. And can’t really be pegged an activist meeting, either.

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But the Artists for Conservation’s annual festival combines all three themes, along with a host of activities at the top of Grouse Mountain this week and next week.

Now in its third year, the festival is bringing in more than 80 pieces of art depicting the natural world, according to organizer and North Vancouver sculptor Jeff Whiting.

But what sets 2013’s event apart is day-long symposium of keynote speakers representing six leading conservation groups, scheduled for Oct. 3. Among groups to present at the event: the Pacific WildLife Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife & Education, the Nature Trust B.C and the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Not surprisingly, oil, and its transport through the province and off our coasts, will be top of mind for several of the speakers.

“(They’ll) be giving visitors a perspective on ‘What are the most pressing concerns generally and in B.C.?’ as well as ‘What are some of the victories on the positive side?”’ Whiting said.

Artists have a tendency to become ambassadors for the content they draw inspiration from, so it makes sense that conservationists and artists would become natural allies, Whiting said.

“We’re trained to see and observe and look and express but most importantly we’re trained to see what others don’t. We’re trained to see where others gloss over and to express that through our artwork,” he said. “We’re passionate about saving that which we depict.”

The festival is on now to Oct. 6 at Grouse Mountain. Tickets are still available for the Oct. 3 symposium.

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