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American Artist Retraces Footsteps of Heroic Explorer to Study Endangered Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

AFC Flag Expedition 11

11/20/2010 - Artists for Conservation (AFC), is pleased to announce that Stephen Quinn, AFC Signature Member will be departing on Nov 21, 2010 for his an expedition to the jungles of central Africa. He is the eleventh recipient of Flag Expedition fellowship involving a grant of $5,000 US, plus additional support from the Houston Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The objective of the AFC's Flag Expeditions Program is to make possible the artistic field study and rendering of endangered species or habitats deserving of greater public attention, particularly in remote parts of the world.

Quinn is an award-winning artist, senior project manager at the AMNH, and a world authority on museum dioramas. He will be embarking on a rare journey to study the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The New Jersey native will retrace the footsteps of Carl Akeley's famous expedition nearly a century ago, which ended in the heroic explorer's death. Jeff Whiting, president of Artists for Conservation, the non-profit organization spearheading the expedition will accompany Quinn on the journey.

"We'll be using a 90-year-old painting to find the exact location that inspired Akeley's famous diorama of the mountain gorilla, which is still on display today at the American Museum of Natural History," said Whiting. "Quinn will create a painting depicting what that exact site looks like today."

It is estimated there are only 740 mountain gorillas left in the world. Dr. Mike Cranfield, executive director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project, which is dedicated to the preservation of the species, will accompany Quinn and Whiting on the expedition. The project is one of Artists for Conservation's annual flag expeditions, which aim to combine modern day science with art to raise awareness for critical conservation work.

"Akeley's efforts were instrumental in having this area conserved as Africa's first national park nearly a century ago," said Whiting. "That's art in action if there ever was. Artists have always been on the forefront of conservation."

Quinn and Whiting will be posting live updates from the field on the Artists for Conservation website throughout the trek. The expedition was made possible in part by the American Museum of Natural History, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project, the Houston Zoo and the University of California Davis. It has also been endorsed by the Explorer's Club, to which Quinn was recently inducted. Anyone wanting to support the expedition can make a donation by becoming a friend of Artists for Conservation on its website: www.artistsforconservation.org.

Artists for Conservation is the world's leading artist group dedicated to supporting the environment. Founded in 1997, AFC is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, Canada with a membership spanning five continents and 27 countries.



About the Flag Expeditions Program:
The objective of the Flag Expeditions Program is to make possible the artistic field study and rendering of biodiversity deserving of greater public attention with strong emphasis on unique and threatened habitats and rare or endangered species in remote parts of the world. For more information on the AFC Flag Expeditions Program, or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.artistsforconservation.org/flagexpeditions.
 
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