Save the Chimps Hosts Annual Online Auction

If you’re an art buff searching for your next piece of exclusive artwork, why not try an original painting by a talented chimpanzee? Starting on July 13 and going through the 22, Save the Chimps will be hosting their annual All Things Chimp online auction, which will feature over 70 items ranging from collaborative primate art to behind-the-scenes experiences at the sanctuary.

Devon, by human artist Nathaniel Gold and chimpanzee artist Lisa.

The auction, which first began back in 2014, is one of the sanctuary’s primary fundraisers throughout the year.

“We received such positive feedback from the original chimpanzee art we sell in our online gift shop that we thought an online auction would be a great fit for us,” explained Triana Romero, Director of Communications at the sanctuary. “Our first auction raised $25,000 which was wonderful, so we thought it’d be a good idea to host it again.”

Cheetah painting.

Since then, the auction has continued to evolve in the number of unique items offered, featuring anything and everything chimp-related, whether it’s a package of promotional items from the sanctuary such as T-shirts and behind-the-scenes experiences or any of the artwork painted by the 250-plus residents living at the sanctuary, which features painting as one of the many kinds of enrichment techniques used to help the chimps thrive.

“The philosophy of Save the Chimps is to let them be themselves,” said Romero. “The care staff knows the individuals well and who’s fond of painting, so they’ll put the paint and canvas out and if the chimps are in the mood to paint, they choose their colors and go to work.”

Casey painting.

Besides the original paintings done by the chimps themselves, another popular category of items includes the unique works of art donated by the sanctuary’s supporters, whether it’s charcoal portraits of the chimpanzees or even special art done collaboratively between a chimp and a human artist.

“One of our supporters is a very talented artist based out of New York City who supplies us with the type of paper he likes to work off of. We give the paper to the chimps and once they’re done painting their masterpiece on it, we send the paper back to him and he paints one of our residents on top of the painting,” said Romero. “It’s very dimensional and unique because you have a beautiful piece of art that’s been created by both a human and a chimp working independently.”

Left: Pepsi painting. Right: Ron, by human artist Nathaniel Gold and chimpanzee artist Janice.

Another of the sanctuary’s supporters specializes in creating outdoor furniture, including director’s chairs the chimps help customize.

“We have the chimps paint on the canvas and then he cuts it and the fabric of the chair is made of the original chimp art,” said Romero. “It’s a great way to engage our supporters and raise funds at the same time. All of the money raised goes towards our general upkeep costs of feeding and caring for our residents, and we’ve raised over $105,000 since the auction’s inception.”

Director’s chairs painted by Cheetah.

For more information about the All Things Chimp online auction and a look at some of the artists at work creating the pieces, click here.

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