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Artist Paints Grizzly Bears in a New Light

Painter Georgia Baker wants to represent the grizzly bear's more playful side. (2017Georgia Baker ArtWorks)
Painter Georgia Baker wants to represent the grizzly bear's more playful side. (2017Georgia Baker ArtWorks)
February 14, 2017

BOZEMAN, Mont. – A Montana artist wants to show grizzly bears from a different perspective and shed light on their precarious situation with the stroke of a paintbrush.

Georgia Baker's art show "Connectivity" in Bozeman is displaying her paintings of grizzly bears to help efforts to conserve the species in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Baker is showing their vulnerable side, fighting back most depictions of grizzlies as ferocious killers.

"We have depicted these and misrepresented these bears just even starting with their name," she said. "I don't think it's deserving once you find out more."

The art show comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mulls over whether or not to delist the grizzly as an endangered species. A decision was expected to be made in January, but the agency delayed it after receiving more than 650,000 comments from the public.

Baker says a lot of people don't understand grizzlies. She says they are quite smart and compares them to "large dogs," adding that plants make up over 90 percent of their diet. She also likens their large claws to gardening tools.

Baker says Theodore Roosevelt set a good example for conservationists at the beginning of the 20th century with his foresight in protecting Yellowstone, and she hopes to do the same for the grizzly.

"I want to be an ancestor that had the foresight to not just make this the story of more domination, and land use, and about people, but actually about coexisting with important species that we have yet to come and to appreciate," she explained.

Connectivity runs until February 28th at the ERA Landmark Real Estate building in downtown Bozeman. Half of the proceeds from the sale of Baker's paintings will benefit the Sierra Club's Grizzly Recovery Campaign. Baker is a volunteer for the organization.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT