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Volume 15, Issue 26  | March 31, 2023Subscribe

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Boys & Girls Club offers Californian Wildlife Drawing Workshop with Jane Lee McCracken on Feb 6

Artist and designer Jane Lee McCracken, founder of Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops, will host an art workshop “Where Did All the Animals go?” on Thursday, Feb 6 from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. The workshop is free to Boys & Girls Club Canyon and Bluebird Branch members, ages 5 to 18 years old, and art materials are provided.

Participants will celebrate the beauty of endangered Californian wildlife with the UK-based artist and designer and create their own wildlife portrait using ballpoint pens. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jane founded Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops in 2014 in partnership with international

wildlife charity Born Free. Meru National Park in Kenya was the home of Elsa, the lioness made famous by the book and film Born Free, which gives children and wildlife a voice. Elsa is the inspiration for the charity. The organization works in Meru to safeguard the lions that call this national park home. They are Elsa’s legacy.

Jane says, “As I am coming over to Laguna Beach to visit family, while I’m there I wanted to give children the opportunity to learn about and draw endangered animals.”

In 2019, Jane founded Where Did All the Animals Go? (WDATAG) art and environmental education. Sharing her passions for drawing and wildlife, she has conducted drawing workshops for hundreds of children and adults. 

Boys & dog

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Submitted photo

Jane Lee McCracken and her dog Lily

Jane says, “Part of the project’s message is that by protecting wildlife and encouraging bio-diversity to thrive in our own local areas no matter where we live in the world this can not only help bio-diversity flourish but also combat the Climate Crisis. So I thought the children of B&G Club would like to draw Californian wildlife!”

Her workshops include a brief presentation about her art practice and wildlife conservation, followed by a practical ballpoint pen drawing session. Focusing on the fact that drawing is a skill we all possess, and is a great source of self-expression and escapism, individual tutoring and drawing tips are given by Jane throughout the workshop. This workshop offers an informal and enjoyable atmosphere to create art. 

“My art practice includes my own artwork which explores loss generated by human destruction, designing products, Drawing for Endangered Species ballpoint pen workshops, and the Where Did all the Animals Go? (WDATAG) art and environmental education project,” says Jane. 

“The workshops and WDATAG project give children and the wider community the opportunity to learn about vulnerable species, how to help them and create emotional connections with animals by drawing them. Creating emotional connections is a key element to conservation. If we care, we want to conserve.

“My hope and aim for the WDATAG project is that through art and education the project will further encourage collective responsibility and compassion for wildlife and help towards combatting the bio-diversity crisis.” 

Boys & kid

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Submitted photo

Jane Lee McCracken during workshop at Thought Foundation Art Gallery

Jane continues, “In 2021 as part of the project, I am organizing an exhibition and endangered species conference in North East England displaying UK children’s drawings. But I am also working on an outreach program with Born Free as part of the project, and it would be wonderful if children from Laguna could have an opportunity to exhibit their work in some capacity at the exhibition too. We also intend to have outreach programs for children in Africa.”

Jane has been making drawings for as long as she can remember. After completing a BA (hons) in Graphic Design at University of Humberside and freelancing as an illustrator for several years creating illustrations for the BBC and various UK publishers, Jane developed her art practice and began to exhibit her work. She worked as a park keeper in Camden to fund her art practice, and then became one of only a few female guards/tube drivers on the Northern Line in the late 1990s. Jane has worked as a full-time artist since 2006. 

For more information about the project and Jane’s work, click here. 

The Boys & Girls Club’s Canyon Branch is located at 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, call (949) 494-2535.


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