Anderson works with student groups to create art murals. Photo provided
Anderson works with student groups to create art murals. Photo provided

Working from his studio at Blind Pass on Sanibel Island, wildlife artist Ed Anderson from Boise, Idaho, is conducting an eight-week artist “in residence” educational program at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is hosting the program as part of the refuge’s ongoing 75th anniversary celebration.

As part of the program, Anderson sets up on Wildlife Drive to sketch and interact with visitors on select Tuesdays (May 21 and 28; June 4, 11, and 25) and Thursdays (May 23 and June 6, 20, and 27) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Look for the “Artist in Action” banner that marks Anderson’s Pop-Up Art Studio.

The artist has also scheduled two free Friday Art Journal Walks at the refuge. On June 7 and 28, Anderson will introduce participants to his unique style of extemporaneous art and travel journaling with a 10 a.m. briefing in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Auditorium. The program is free, but limited to the first 20 arrivals.

Participants will receive a free journal to carry with them as they follow Anderson on an art and nature learning adventure along Indigo Trail to the Wildlife Education Boardwalk. Note: Wildlife Drive is closed to the public on Fridays.

Stay tuned for other art programs to be announced during May and June at ding75.org.

Our refuge was created by conservation artist Jay Norwood ‘Ding’ Darling in 1945, so it’s more than fitting that we begin celebrating our 75th anniversary with interpretive art programs,” said supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland. “Darling, who created the Federal Duck Stamp program, designed the first duck stamp and the refuge system’s Blue Goose logo. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice for his popular political cartoons throughout the 1920s and 30s.”

Anderson also will be mentoring youth groups, including a mural project onsite at Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida in Dunbar and a PACE Center for Girls art workshop at the refuge. The Gardner Families is sponsoring the PACE Center event along with DDWS, which is also seeking sponsors for other outreach and onsite educational activities.

Anderson’s work this spring and summer will culminate in a free exhibition of his journals and art starting in mid-February 2020 in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditoriums, on the heels of the Clyde Butcher Photographic 75th Anniversary Exhibition Nov. 13 through Feb. 5.

I am excited to be inspired by some of ‘Ding’ Darling’s most famous conservation cartoons as part of my body of work at the refuge,” said Anderson. “Darling could be considered one of the original wildlife doodling storytellers, and that’s essentially how I work.”

Anderson’s fine art hangs in the homes of collectors and has been published in publications around the United States including Gray’s Sporting Journal, Backcountry Journal, and, locally, Gulfshore Life. In the interest of conservation, he has donated his work to DDWS, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Captains for Clean Water, and various other non-profits. He has been visiting Sanibel Island since his childhood, for more than 40 years.

For more information about Anderson’s work, visit edandersonart.com. To keep up to date on the refuge’s 75th anniversary celebration, visit ding75.org. To sponsor Artist ‘in Residence” programs, contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.