PORT ANGELES — Twenty-five cougars.
That’s how many individual cats have been tagged from “around Sekiu to as far east as Palo Alto Road [near Sequim],” said Kim Sager-Fradkin, a wildlife biologist with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.
There are probably more, she said.
Sager-Fradkin is one of the speakers in a new kind of presentation at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center (PAFAC) on Thursday: “Civic Minds + Creative Hearts,” at 6 p.m. in the courtyard of the center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
It’s an evening inspired by “Conservation from Here,” the large-scale art show on display in the adjacent Esther Webster Gallery.
While admission is free to the gallery and to the surrounding Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park, Thursday’s program is a ticketed event, with information at PAFAC.org.
Admission is $12 for non-members or $10 for members, and people who want to become members can do so when buying tickets online, said PAFAC Executive Director Christine Loewe.
Annual memberships start at $35 and come with discounts at the center’s events and invitations to members-only festivities all year. More information can be found on the website or by phoning 360-457-3532.
Loewe encourages patrons to go online to purchase tickets in advance; if any are left Thursday evening, they will be sold at the door.
Joseph Rossano, the artist behind the “Conservation from Here” exhibition, and Mark Elbroch of the Panthera Project, a global organization devoted to the world’s 40 wild cat species, are also featured speakers at this event.
Attendees will have a chance to mingle and chat informally with them and peruse the “Conservation from Here” show; to complete the evening, they will be invited into a collaborative art project.
This project, using maps and fibers, is designed to show people how humans and wildlife can coexist here on the North Olympic Peninsula, Loewe said.
“If you want to understand some of the cutting-edge research happening in your backyard, the overlap between cougars and humans, and the role [cougars] play in the ecosystem,” Sager-Fradkin added, then Thursday’s event is for you.
“Civic Minds + Creative Hearts” also aims to shed light on how to maintain a conservation ethic as the local human footprint expands, Loewe said. Attendees will also have a chance to learn how “conservation” has evolved as an idea.
That’s what Rossano’s gallery show is about: How beliefs have changed.
The show “is taking a look at historic roots of conservation and preservation — what Theodore Roosevelt’s concept was — and taking it into the modern era,” Loewe said.
Today scientists use modern technology to track and understand animals — instead of killing them and mounting their heads on a wall.
The art exhibit at PAFAC also looks 100 years into the future, hence the title “Conservation from Here,” Loewe added.
Thursday’s event will give people a chance to talk with their neighbors about that topic.
Meanwhile, the “Conservation from Here” exhibition, presented in partnership with Olympic National Park, will stay on display through Sunday in the Webster Gallery, which is open and free to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
“Civic Minds + Creative Hearts” will be a regular offering at the PAFAC, Loewe noted.
The goal, she said, is to bring people — community members, local professionals, civic leaders — into a conversation about innovation and art.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]