The final touches of paint will be applied to two murals this week in the Miller Children’s Zoo at Binder Park Zoo. The murals, designed and executed by visual artist Jaziel Pugh are a collaboration between Color the Creek and Binder Park Zoo. Two, two-walled structures that were originally animal shelters have become the “canvases” for Jaziel’s work. “As you would expect, the animal collection in the Miller Children’s Zoo has changed over the years since it opened in 1989, and when the perimeters of several outdated exhibits were removed for safety and aesthetics, these structures became available for a new purpose.” states Leslie Walsh, Manager of Marketing & Development at the zoo. Walsh continues, “We have long wanted to bring public art to the zoo in some way, and had been in discussions with Justin Andert of Color the Creek in the past year. Justin is the creator and driving force behind Color the Creek, a project that uses the creation of public art to add vibrancy, create positive energy, and ignite the creative spirit in the Battle Creek community – all things we want for the zoo, too. Color the Creek has been so successful, we knew we had connected with the right resource. From there, everything began to fall into place”, Walsh said.
“It is a thrill to have Color the Creek collaborate with Binder Park Zoo on this mural”, said Justin Andert. “It has been our goal since Day 1 to use creativity to brighten public spaces in Battle Creek. To now be working with a local institution to further both our missions, while adding vibrancy to a community staple is very rewarding.”
Visual artist Jaziel Pugh employed a creative and colorful language to express the theme by using color theory, positioning, pattern design and a subject matter of plants, amphibians, birds, and reptiles. The singular goal of the project was to create an environment where families and children could interact with the art to develop greater understanding and appreciation for both conservation and art. Jaziel’s work can be seen across Battle Creek in a number of large scale outdoor and indoor murals all expressing the same qualities of expressiveness, color, detail and originality. Jaziel, a Battle Creek native, draws on the need for more color and art in the world. He enjoys working on projects in all seasons and participates in many recurring mural events.
Pugh states, “This mural was a very intriguing project for me because I was given the opportunity to create an exciting mural that children could relate to and interact with. I love to loosen my style and approach new themes. The colors, shapes, patterns and design all played a significant role in this project. While the mural is a fun and interesting piece there is an immense quality of precision and study that took place in order for the project to flow flawlessly. I am beyond grateful to have worked and participated in this collaboration with Binder Park Zoo. This work is for myself, Binder Park Zoo and many families to enjoy and appreciate.”
Work on the murals began on July 20 and zoo staff and guests have been able to watch the progress of Jaziel’s work as it developed through the stages of priming, design layout, color application and the fine details. The murals are centrally located inside the Miller Children’s Zoo approximately 30 yards apart from each other, separated by the tracks of the Z.O.& O. train.
“We are thrilled with this project,” said Diane Thompson, President & CEO of the zoo. “The opportunity to share this stunning art that creatively delivers a message of conservation to our guests is truly a privilege. Structures that once provided shade for zoo animals have been transformed into spaces that now provide inspiration. What a great example of re-purposing. There is a certain energy and excitement about the murals – you just feel happy to see them.” Thompson stated.
The zoo mural project was funded by Color the Creek with generous support from the Battle Creek Community Foundation, private donors and Binder Park Zoo.
The zoo is open daily Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday 11am-6pm. Information about visiting the zoo is available on the website homepage at www.binderparkzoo.org and information about Color the Creek is available at http://colorthecreek.com/