UF Mazza Museum Partners with Toledo Zoo on Exhibit

University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum is proud to partner with the Toledo Zoo on its newly-renovated ProMedica Museum of Natural History, scheduled to open May 31, which will include the second-floor Mazza Gallery featuring original artwork.

The gallery’s first exhibition is titled “Lines, Tigers and Bears: An Illustrated Zoo.” It will include approximately 40 pieces, some of which were created by Lizzy Rockwell, author of the children’s book, “Zoo Day.” Rockwell gathered some of her reference images for the book from the Toledo Zoo, and will be one of the gallery’s first visiting illustrators. All Mazza Gallery artwork will derive from the Mazza Museum’s vast picture book art collection, considered the world’s largest, which is used for education and literacy promotion.

The animal-themed artwork will focus on conservation, endangered species, and increasing public awareness, said Dan Chudzinski, Mazza Museum curator whose professional connections with zoo personnel facilitated Mazza Gallery planning. The gallery will be arranged similarly to the Mazza Museum, with each work to be presented with its corresponding book.

“The plan is to rotate the gallery twice during the first year. We also plan to bring in visiting illustrators to present in the gallery over the course of the next year,” Chudzinski added.

With art as a primary component throughout the facility, visitors will enjoy an immersive and interactive experience. Click here to read a comprehensive Toledo Blade story about the zoo’s artistic efforts with this renovation.

“The Mazza Museum is honored to collaborate with the Toledo Zoo on this important educational endeavor,” said Ben Sapp, Mazza Museum director. “Both the Museum and the Mazza Gallery at the zoo share the importance and appreciation of literacy through the art found in picture books. The art will also reinforce the mission of the Toledo Zoo of inspiring others, showing care for animals, and conserving the natural world.”

“The Zoo is excited to have this partnership with the Mazza Museum,” said Toledo Zoo President and CEO Jeff Sailer. “The museum has such an amazing collection of children’s book art and now the Zoo can benefit from exhibiting a small portion of that collection, while providing exposure for the Mazza Museum to over 1 million visitors annually. Partnerships, like this one between Mazza and the Toledo Zoo, are great examples of the power of a scaled and mutual collaboration that benefits both partners,” Sailer said.

The ProMedica Museum of Natural History renovation is part of a $27-million zoo master plan. The project involved updating space in the former Museum of Science, a Works Progress Administration-era building that is more than 80 years old. The new museum’s focus will be on biodiversity throughout the course of history shown through the lens of local habitats and wildlife along with their ties to global counterparts, the zoo explained. ProMedica donated $3.5 million toward the renovation.

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