“Becoming Animal” exhibit at Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas

In nature, “sentient' refers to something that is alive and aware. In “Becoming Animal: Standing Witness for the Sentient Wild,” a new exhibit at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, wildlife biologist and noted artist Sharon K. Schafer portrays the wild kingdom of Nevada’s Mojave Desert with vitality and charm. Debuting Oct. 30 for Nevada Day, the exhibit features several dozen black and white photographs depicting desert fauna in a passionate portrayal of preservation and life.

The fusion of art, nature and history make the exhibit a perfect fit for the museum, whose mission in part is to inspire and educate the public about the natural history of Nevada. Several items from the museum’s collections are included in the photos, together with animals living freely in Southern Nevada and in such managed areas as the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Museum, and the Bearizona Wildlife Park near Grand Canyon.

Schafer is a wildlife biologist who turned her talent into a concern for the environment, and took it to heart. She had previously shown paintings and drawings of wildlife in a well-received exhibit when the museum was at Lorenzi Park.  Her latest exhibit at the museum, now on the grounds of the Springs Preserve, runs through Aug. 31.

Acclaimed for her work with watercolor, graphite, acrylic, and color photography, Schafer gave a well-received exhibit and program at the museum several years ago. This time, Schafer has chosen to tell the story of “Becoming Animal” through the precision and simplicity of black and white photography.

“Becoming Animal” is sponsored in part by Land Rover Las Vegas and Pictographics: Total Visual Solutions. A reception, artist presentation, and preview for museum members is from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29. Memberships will be available. The artist will also conduct two workshops during the show’s run.  Art and nature journaling for adults is set for Nov. 14 and a nature workshop is planned for March 5.

Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is open 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday through Monday. Admission is $9.95 for locals; free for museum members. For more information contact Sali Underwood at or (702) 822-8737.

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