OKC Zoo’s Art Gone Wild Opens Thursday

OKC Zoo’s Art Gone Wild Opens Thursday

  • August 22– September 16, 2019
  • South Lobby, Crystal Bridge
  • FREE 
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm

Art Gone Wild is a collection of paintings created by a wide variety of animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Participating species include elephants, giraffes, snakes, turtles, birds, tigers, bears, sea lions and many more. All of the art created by Zoo animals is made with safe, non-toxic tempera paint.

Each animal has a unique method for painting, often with the help of some ingenious tools created by their caretakers. Some animals, like the snakes and turtles, slither and crawl across the canvas. The more dexterous animals like the apes and elephants can actually grasp paintbrushes. Even the stingrays paint by knocking against an underwater mesh ball which is attached to an angled pole, moving the paintbrush at the pole’s opposite end.

All painting sessions are done voluntarily by the animals. The process is part of the enrichment programs developed by their caretakers. The goal is to provide a stimulating environment which addresses the animal’s social, psychological and physical needs.

In addition to providing enrichment for the Zoo’s animals, Art Gone Wild provides funding for the OKC Zoo’s conservation programs and partners. One example is the OKC Monarch Garden School Grant Program. The Zoo has partnered with Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative, and National Wildlife Federation (NWF), to increase habitat for monarchs and other pollinators in decline by providing grants to Oklahoma City metro area schools to create monarch gardens. Net proceeds from Art Gone Wild help make this project possible.

Crystal Reverie exhibit in the Crystal Bridge by Rachel Hayes

Crystal Reverie exhibit in the Crystal Bridge by Rachel Hayes


Crystal Reverie exhibit in the Crystal Bridge by Rachel Hayes

  • Crystal Bridge at Myriad Gardens
  • August 17 – October 21, 2019
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm
  • Free with Crystal Bridge admission
    • Free for members, $8 adults, $7 seniors/military/students

Artist Statement

I create art installations with textiles outside in nature, responding to and highlighting attributes in sites ranging from canyons, deserts, forests, lakes, and even my own backyard. I am excited to present work at Myriad Botanical Gardens, where my work is slightly protected from the elements of wind and water, yet still harnesses the sun while engaging with the natural world. The architecture of the Crystal Bridge and all the beautiful colors and textures found inside are both distinguished collaborators and muse. I use translucent materials that adapt easily to the environment in which I use them, as well as put emphasis on it. For me it is important to let the fabric drape as it naturally wants, let the layers of color build-up, let the sunshine through, let shadows happen, and to let the work and the environment meet in the middle. Sometimes an installation becomes a portrait of the textile piece, and other times the installation becomes a portrait of the surrounding landscape. I am open to letting it be both.

Artist Bio

Rachel Hayes received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in Fiber, and her MFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Award in Painting and Sculpture; Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship in Sculpture; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship in Sculpture; Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture; and a Charlotte Street Fund Award.

Hayes has attended: the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, New York; Sculpture Space Residency, New York; Art Omi International Artists’ Residency, New York; and the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program in Roswell, New Mexico.

She has shown her work at the Sculpture Center in New York; Taubman Museum of Art, Virginia; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; Roswell Museum of Art, New Mexico; Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, New Hampshire; and with BravinLee Programs. Hayes has completed commissions for Facebook Headquarters in Palo Alto, California; Bloomberg Headquarters in New York; and for the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in Washington D.C. Recently, Rachel has collaborated with the Italian fashion house Missoni, culminating with a solo exhibition. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, The Cut, Interior Design, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Art Forum, and Art Papers, and she was featured in the new documentary Being Missoni.

She is currently a fellow with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, established by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.