"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." (Shakespeare misapplied)

The beauty and wonder of the natural world puts all of life's complexities into perspective. ‘Draw with Us’ is a program supported by the Erie Zoo eStore for the purpose of sharing our love of the natural world through basic drawing education, collaborative Art Galleries and Featured Artist programs.


Why Provide Basic Drawing Education?

Art triggers a response in our brains associated with visual understanding and emotions. Art can change the way we see the world. Writing for the National Endowment of the Arts, Maria Popova described this phenomenon as "the power to transcend our own self-interest and relate to the world and each other with more integrity, more curiosity, more wholeheartedness." (Kevin Loria, Business Insider) These are the outcomes the Erie Zoo eStore aspires to promote.

And we're choosing animals as our subjects. In spite of our differences - nature has a special place in the human heart. Researchers have discovered that creatures great and small also have a special place in our heads. A Caltech team found individual brain cells that respond when we see an animal - but not when we see another person, place or object. (Katie Neith, Caltech: Captivated By Critters) So 'Draw with Us' appeals to that 'special place in the human heart' - the love we experience for all 'animalitas'.

And finally, art education goes beyond exclusively the ‘arts.’ If we hear and see something, it's been estimated that we retain about 50% of that information. If we hear, see and do something – this rate jumps up to 85% (Center for Human Development, Pleasant Hill). Drawing and other forms of artmaking support comprehension and recall for young ones of many different learning styles.

But what if we don't feel like we have the skills to be art makers? Picasso said: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Young children naturally create art in an expressive manner. As they grow older, many desire to draw in a ‘representative’ way and can become discouraged without the tools to do so. If making art through drawing is a little intimidating, join Akua (the gazelle guide) as she leads us on an art safari for children young and old that may lack confidence in their ability to draw. Through observation and replication, Akua shares a simplified model of viewing form, shape and line that anyone can master. Although these online drawing lessons focus on learning basic skills by copying, they do address individual creativity and stress that art is a form of self-expression and can be achieved both by imitating nature, and by interpreting it in new and different ways.

What Are the Art Galleries & Where Are They Displayed?

As Akua says: "Most artists learn from teachers, other artists, and by looking at the world in a creative way. This is also the way people and cultures share ideas with each other." We're so excited to have the opportunity to share the art you make! If you'd like your work to be part of the Art Galleries for all to enjoy, please tell us: 1) your name, 2) age, 3) the country where you live and 4) take a high resolution scan or photo of your work and upload here on this site or send to: admin@eriezooestore.org Your artwork will be displayed on the Erie Zoo eStore website, Facebook and Instagram pages. 

What is a Featured Artist?

Twice a year, we choose one of our gallery artist contributors to feature on our website and social media channels, to receive a collection of custom decorated gift items (decorated with your work!) and have pieces of that collection displayed for sale on the Erie Zoo eStore site (proceeds to support the Erie Zoo).