Lost Bird Project Comes to Jackson Hole: National Museum of Wildlife Art Unveils Conservation Art on Sculpture Trail

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The Lost Bird Project, a public art project founded by sculptor Todd McGrain, will be unveiled on the outdoor Sculpture Trail at the National Museum of Wildife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., with the artist in attendance on June 13. McGrain’s five bronze sculptures – a second edition of the originals representing five extinct bird species – will be on display at the museum through October 10, 2013.

“Carolina Parakeet Memorial,” Bronze, 2009, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Florida, Todd McGrain

“Forgetting is another form of extinction,” says Lost Bird Project sculptor Todd McGrain.

On June 13, a flock of five extinct North American birds immortalized in bronze – the Passenger Pigeon, Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, Labrador Duck and the Heath Hen – will be unveiled on the National Museum of Wildlife Art's outdoor Sculpture Trail in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Artist Todd McGrain created the sculptures as part of the Lost Bird Project, which he founded to bring awareness to the modern-day extinction of the five bird species.

The sculptures in Jackson Hole are a second edition of McGrain’s Lost Bird Project bronzes; the originals have been installed as close as possible to the geographical place each bird was last seen. McGrain will be in Jackson, Wyoming, for the unveiling and to take part in a Q&A to follow the outdoor screening of a documentary about his public art project, also titled “The Lost Bird Project.”

Passenger pigeons, once the most abundant birds in the world, were driven to extinction by commercial hunters who shot them by the hundreds of thousands to sell for meat. The Great Auk, a flightless densely feathered bird, was doomed when featherbeds became fashionable. The other three species memorialized by McGrain’s project fell to similar fates.

“I felt a greater urgency to make sculptures of extinct birds than real birds because they (extinct birds) have no form in the real world…they exist only in memory,” says McGrain in a recent interview in the museum’s "Call of the Wild" magazine. The artist wants to allow people to have a physical experience with these lost birds through art, building memory through story. “Forgetting is another form of extinction,” McGrain adds. More information about the project is available at http://www.lostbirdfilm.org.

The Lost Bird Project is the first major temporary exhibition to be installed on the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Sculpture Trail since the completion of the three-quarter-mile-long outdoor art space last fall. The Lost Bird Project will be unveiled as part of one of the museum’s monthly Mix’d Media evening events on June 13. The unveiling is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the screening of the documentary to take place at 9 p.m., followed by the Q&A with the artist. The Lost Bird Project exhibition will remain on display on the Sculpture Trail through October 10, 2013.

The Sculpture Trail is free and open to the public, as is the outdoor Mix’d Media event, which also will include live music by Mandatory Air and a Passenger Pigeon origami art project, “Fold the Flock.” Food will be served for a $5 charge, and bike valet service will be available via Friends of Pathways for those who want to ride the bike path from Jackson to the museum, with the first 50 people to arrive by bike receiving a free dinner.

In addition to its busy art exhibition schedule, the National Museum of Wildlife Art offers a full schedule of year-round community programming, with some 100 free events including art-making activities, films, lectures, “edutainment,” Art in Action guest artists workshops, cultural fun on the museum’s new Sculpture Trail and much more. The museum also provides free high-quality educational enrichment for school children, from online and onsite curriculum for teachers to student art contests and thematic school tours. And the museum becomes a vibrant community gathering space during popular social happenings like its monthly First Sundays and Mix’d Media events.

Company Information: A member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Museums West consortium and accredited by the American Association of Museums, the museum, officially designated the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States by an act of Congress in 2008, provides an exciting calendar of exhibitions from its permanent collection and changing exhibitions from around the globe. A complete schedule of exhibitions and events is available online at http://www.wildlifeart.org. The museum is also active on Facebook and on Twitter at @WildlifeArtJH.

Media Contacts: Darla Worden, WordenGroup Strategic Public Relations, 307.734.5335, darla(at)wordenpr(dot)com; Ponteir Sackrey National Museum of Wildlife Art, 307.732.5444, psackrey(at)wildlifeart(dot)org.

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