While on one of her annual trips to Africa in 2012 to research her animal subjects, she began bringing art supplies and teaching art and conservation messages to children in Botswana and Zimbabwe. In 2014, she and her oceanographer husband, Jim Hart, formed a nonprofit called," ARTS FOR ANIMALS". What began, as a personal effort to teach African children the importance of wildlife to their heritage and their future, has grown into an organization helping thousands of children to learn the value of art and wildlife conservation to their future.
Her website, www.artsforanimals.com, has offered wildlife lovers across the planet the opportunity to help children in the USA and in Africa learn the value of art and creativity as well is the importance of wildlife to their heritage and their future.
She often organizes and sponsors Art Events which feature a specific animal conservation program and then donates half of the proceeds to the featured program and ARTS FOR ANIMALS. Last year she raised $45,000 at an event for the RUHAHA LION PROJECT and this year she raised $24,000, for PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION.
ARTS FOR ANIMALS WILDLIFE CENTER
In 2015 Anne and Jim ,with the help of one of their partner organizations "CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS", renovated an old building near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and started the ARTS FOR ANIMALS WILDLIFE ARTS CENTER to give local children a place to be exposed to, and learn about, art,conservation stewardship and creativity.
When visited by the Zimbabwe Minister of Education,he was impressed enough to appoint an art curator/teacher to run the Center. The Center was an overwhelming success and a year later, a brand new Center was built with funds Anne raised through Art events and donations from clients.
The new Wildlife Arts Center provides a large classroom and secure computer room for area students. Surrounded by inspirational messages and art donated by Anne and her artist friends, children are often exposed to the magic of art for the first time.They are motivated to exercise their own creativity and understand the value of their wildlife to their own heritage and future.
Recently, a new ,open air gallery was added,doubling the effective size of the Center and creating a place art students can meet, draw and work on projects, even when the Center itself is closed.
ARTS FOR ANIMALS provides drawing kits, activity posters and
mentoring by teachers and talented fellow students that have received ARTS FOR ANIMALS scholarships. Since power in the area is scant and unreliable ,electricity supplied by a new solar power system runs the ART CENTER'S three Laptop computers for the students to use. Again, often the computers Anne donated are the first these children have seen.
The WILDLIFE ARTS CENTER also provides a place for the local" Eco rangers" and "Animal Protector" groups to meet. Developed by Anne's husband Jim, the " Animal Protector" program, encourages African children to make a pledge they will protect animals and help their family and friends understand the value of African wildlife. in 2014, 450 children first made that pledge and wear the blue wristband which signifies that commitment. Since then,over 4000 children have made that pledge.
Today,ARTS FOR ANIMALS is offering support and Art teaching components to partners like "CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS" and "PAINTED DOG CONSERVATION" "bush camps". These camps work with over 2500 children each year. By helping ongoing programs offer African kids art education as a part of their Animal Conservation curriculum ,excitement and motivation is increased and the programs are more effective.
This allows ARTS FOR ANIMALS to help and influence thousands
more kids with minimal cost.
Anne travels back to Africa several times each year to personally teach and inspire children at the WILDLIFE ARTS CENTER and also at local schools in Zimbabwe.
Anne's goal is to have thousands of African children growing up with a firm understanding and commitment to preserving their wildlife. If we are going to change the future, it is going to be by changing the attitudes and efforts of children today.