Sunday, June 1, 2014



The Wildlife Experience, Parker, CO, Founded by Dave and Gail Liniger

THE 2014-2015 ANNUAL EXHIBITION AND ART AND THE ANIMAL TOUR are largely due to individuals who have dedicated themselves and their resources to the Society of Animal Artists beginning with Dave and Gail Liniger, co-founders of The Wildlife Experience in Parker, Colorado.  Dave and Gail made a personal commitment of their considerable resources to the continuous display of exhibitions by members of The Society of Animal Artists in the name of art, conservation, and education at The Wildlife Experience beginning with the museum’s inaugural exhibition in 2002.  In September of that year, the Linigers celebrated the Grand Opening of The Wildlife Experience by hosting the premiere of the 42nd Annual Exhibition of The Society of Animal Artists.  Five years later, in 2007, The Wildlife Experience hosted the Society’s 47th Annual Exhibition.  And now, in 2014, The Wildlife Experience is again hosting the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, this time, the 54th.   

 Dave and Gail Liniger and their dog, Max

  But  that is not all that Dave and Gail Liniger have done for The Society of Animal Artists.  Far from it.  Thanks to their continuous support, The Wildlife Experience has displayed the Society of Animal Artists’ Art and the Animal traveling exhibition in each of the other years of the museum’s first decade.  And, The Wildlife Experience also hosted numerous other traveling exhibitions that have featured artworks by members of The Society of Animal Artists, including many that I have been involved with such as America’s Parks, American Birds - A Flight Through Time, Art of the Rainforest, The Art of Robert Bateman, Art of the Dive: Portraits of the Deep (inspired by Dave Liniger's own passion for scuba diving), Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, Blossom  ~ Art of Flowers; Exquisite Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist, Feline Fine: Art of Cats, LeRoy Neiman: A Retrospective, Paws and Reflect: Art of Canines, The Sea of Cortez, Kent Ullberg: A Retrospective, and others to come including Andrew Denman: The Modern Wild and Crocodilian Scratchboards by John Agnew.  Speaking from years of experience as a museum director, curator and tour director, I know of no individuals who have personally done more to showcase the work of The Society of Animal Artists than Dave and Gail Liniger.         
The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell, New Jersey, is the first venue this year on the Art and the Animal Tour.  But The Blauvelt is not new to The Society of Animal Artists.  The Blauvelt was an Art and the Animal tour venue in 1998.  In 2003 and 2004, The Blauvelt hosted The Society’s 43rd and 44th Annual Exhibitions.  Under the leadership of James Bellis, Jr., who assumed the duties of President of The Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation in 2010, The Blauvelt hosted  the 52nd Annual Exhibition in 2012, committed to be a tour venue in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, and pledged to host  The 57th Annual Exhibition in 2017.  Since 1993, The Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation has made Purchase Awards from The Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition for the purpose of building the permanent collection of The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum.  Recipients are as follows: 1991 Dennis Anderson, 1994 John Schoenherr, 1996 Walt Matia, 1997 Renee Headings and Wayne Trimm, 1998 Lanford Monroe, 1999 Terry Miller, 2000 Kent Ullberg, 2001 Walter Matia, 2002 Julie Chapman and Matthew Hillier, 2003 Daniel Smith, 2004 Pete Zaluzec, 2006 James Coe, 2007 Dino Paravano, 2008 Paul Rhymer, 2009 Matthew Hillier, 2010 Peter Clinton Gray and Stephen Quinn, 2011 Robert Bateman, 2012 Mick Doellinger and Cynthie Fischer, 2013 Kim Diment and Kathleen Partridge.  The Blauvelt has also maintained a robust artist-in-residence program which has included members of The Society of Animal Artists, and hosted any number of one-man shows including Ocean Life by Stanley Meltzoff, and the two-man show earlier this year of work by Guy Harvey and Kent Ullberg.
An individual who is responsible for bringing Art and the Animal now five times to the state of Missouri for display at The Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Bolivar is Director, Jo Roberts.  In addition to the on-going display of work by members of The Society of Animal Artists, The Dunnegan has also hosted America’s Parks I and II which featured work by numerous members of The Society of Animal Artists several of whom received awards, and various other traveling exhibitions produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., for which I am also exceedingly grateful. 
I’ve often thought that true proof of success and a compliment to any businessman including one in the arts like me, is repeat business.  That is why I am so grateful to people like Dave and Gail Liniger at The Wildlife Experience, Jim Bellis, Jr. and his father before him at The Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation, and Jo Roberts at The Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art.  But without new business, it’s impossible to achieve growth.  And that’s why I am pleased all the more to add a new venue to the long list of previous venues which have hosted Art and the Animal over the years; one, I’m sure, that will be a source of great pride for members of The Society of Animal Artists: The National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, Virginia. Several individuals played a role in making the display of Art and the Animal at the NSLM a reality.  As early as 2009, Turner Reuter of Red Fox Fine Art in Middleburg, encouraged NSLM to host Art and the Animal, as would SAA member, Anita Baarns.  Curatorial Assistant, Hannah Reuter, and niece of SAA member Diana Reuter-Twining, subsequently advocated display of the exhibition at NSLM.  Advancement of display from concept to reality finally coalesced thanks to the initiative of Claudia Pfeiffer George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Curator, and Melanie Leigh Mathewes Executive Director, to whom I am now indebted.
I encourage all members of The Society of Animal Artists and anyone else interested in helping advance its mission and cause, to contact me with leads and suggestions for other new venues, so that I may continue the campaign to share the extraordinary outpouring of work that comprises the Society's Annual Exhibition and Art and The Animal Tour with new audiences far and wide into the future. 

David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Tour Director, Curator, and 
Author, American Wildlife Art


(Dates/Venues subject to change.)

The Wildlife Experience
August 23 - October 22,  2014
Parker, CO

The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum
November 15, 2014 - January 4, 2015
            Oradell, NJ

The Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art
February 1 - March 15, 2015
Bolivar, MO

The National Sporting Library and Museum
April 17 - August 30, 2015
Middleburg, VA

(414) 221-6878;
David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Tour Director
Member, American Alliance of Museums; International Council of Museums