Reptiles and paint don't usually go together, but in the case of the Oklahoma City Zoo's Art Gone Wild exhibit, they're a perfect match.
Many of the zoo's animals have taken part in the exhibit and fundraiser by painting pictures that will be sold at the In Your Eye Studio and Gallery at 3005 Paseo in Oklahoma City.
This year there are 140 paintings available, priced from $20 to $800. Some paintings are as small as 8x10 while others are up to 4 feet by 5 feet.
Proceeds benefit the zoo's conservation programs, but half of this year's total will go to The Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Republic of Congo. That preserve was attacked in June, and several people along with 14 okapis were killed.
For reptiles curator Stacey Sekscienski, the painting is a good way to provide activity for the animals while helping a good cause. The woma python she cares for is a natural painter, she said. She spreads the nontoxic paint out on a canvas, and the python does the rest.
“They're very comfortable doing it,” she said. “They're stimulated by the smell and the activity of moving around on the canvas. It's also a great opportunity for us to talk about these animals.”
Zeppy the cockatoo does plenty of talking. He enjoys painting and chatting up a storm with keeper Holly Ray. Zeppy painted several pieces for this year's Art Gone Wild. He can hold a small brush in his beak and will also walk through paint.
“He can paint some pretty big brush strokes,” Ray said. “It's a good enrichment activity for him. It's especially good mental stimulation. I think he likes doing new things, and he's fairly good at holding the brush in his beak. He prefers that over walking through the paint.”
The show runs through Sept. 2 at the gallery. It is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
To learn more about Art Gone Wild, call 424-3344.