ART 4 ANIMALS
As a kid growing up in Mountlake Terrace, animal artist Cheryl Baughn King considered Woodland Park Zoo a second home. She vividly remembers summers in the 1960s when her grandmother would load Cheryl and her four siblings on a city bus headed for the zoo, where they would spend entire days. The amusement rides, the wading pool and pony rides all played second fiddle to the wild animals that captured Cheryl's delight and imagination. Gorillas Bobo and Fifi were celebrities in her eyes, and for years after Bobo died she would pay homage to his image at the Museum of History and Industry.
Now King is a faithful supporter of the zoo’s conservancy efforts and she consistently donates her art to the zoo’s annual auction. When she learned of the zoo’s current “Forests for All” fundraising campaign, King knew she had to get involved.
In May the artist is honoring the animals of Woodland Park Zoo with a solo exhibit at Red Sky Gallery in Lake Forest Park. The show will feature favorite animals throughout the years, as well as new furry and feathered friends. A significant portion of her sales will be donated directly to the zoo. A painting will be raffled at the end of the month of May with all proceeds going directly to the Forest for All campaign.
The grand opening of King's Art 4 Animals exhibit is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the gallery, 17171 Bothell Way NE.
King's love of animals is equal only to her love of art. Voted the most artistic girl in her 1976 senior class at Mountlake Terrace High School, she went on to Edmonds Community College with athletic scholarships for both volleyball and basketball, and was the head volleyball coach there in the early 1980s. All the while she was studying art with Martin Lim. She honed her skills while painting all subjects, but found herself distilling it down to her beloved animals. Today King has earned a reputation as an expert wildlife artist, particularly in Montana and Colorado, where she has representation in several galleries. Critics say her sensitive and vigorously painted subjects elevate them from mere beasts into creatures of complex emotion and personality.
King's adoration of “all things creature” was first developed and nourished at Woodland Park, and to this day it’s her favorite Seattle destination. ‘Whenever I need a lift, I head to the zoo,” King said. “I observe animals all day and leave feeling lighter." Zoo officials have stated that “every person has the power to create meaningful change” -- a statement that resonates with King.