Birds of prey are focus of Parkville gallery show

07/29/2014 12:46 PM

07/29/2014 12:46 PM

Dennis Connor’s red-tailed hawk statue — a showstopper painstakingly assembled with 150 actual feathers and basswood — almost looks like it might squawk, an impression that only grows deeper with sustained attention.

The piece is an eerily arresting statuette that captures both the predator bird’s unique combination of majesty and strength.

It’s a sight Connor and other artists featured at the Buffalo River Art Gallery in Parkville are working to ensure that later generations get to enjoy.

The statuette is the centerpiece of the Wild Winged Raptor Art Show, which was organized to support local birds of prey.

Sales from the exhibit will support the Eagle Valley Raptor Center, an organization in Cheney, Kan., dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating birds of prey. Its work supports populations of a variety of feathered hunters including hawks, vultures and bald eagle among others.

Meredith Lockhart, one of the show’s artists and more or less the brains behind the operation, said she’d always been an outdoor lover, if not by choice then by necessity given her and husband’s work as farmers. But that all changed when she approached a photographer with an eagle photo she’d cottoned to.

Lockhart requested use of the picture for a painting she hoped to do, and the photographer approved the use — but with one condition: a $50 donation to the raptor center where the eagle was recovering.

“He gave the whole story of the eagle. We learned it had been shot and she’d lost most of her wing,” Lockhart said.

The story resonated not just with her but the other artists in her network.

“We thought, ‘You know, it’d be really fun to do an art show for a raptor center,’” Lockhart said.

She and the other artists who’ve organized the event envisioned an intimate, small showing of local work but instead got a show with representation from all regions of the country: a piece from Wyoming, another from South Dakota.

“I’ve got a Texas artist sending something in,” she said. “We were absolutely flabbergasted.”

Lockhart said she expects this show to be the inaugural event for an annual tradition of artists’ support for the Kansas bird rehabilitation center.

About the show

The Wild Winged Raptor Art Show will be shown through Aug. 14 at the Buffalo River Art Gallery, which is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. The gallery is at 170 English Landing Drive, Suite 131, in Parkville.

The gallery will host live birds of prey from the Eagle Valley Raptor Center during the day on Aug. 9. A mask and feather-painting class is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 7.

Call 913-370-0012 to sign up for the class.

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