The goal of “Urban Wildlife: Learning to Co+Exist” is to encourage the viewing public to take an active role in healthy co-existence with urban animals. In this exhibit, the artists are exploring the lives of wild animals in urban areas and the human responses to this shared territory.

For this exhibit, we define “urban wildlife” as any species of animal that is native or introduced, but not domesticated or feral, living freely in close proximity to people (villages, towns, cities) anywhere in the world. The animals could include invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Expansion of villages, towns, and cities creates new homes for some animals, even as it displaces others. The results are often problematic. Our scientific understanding of the actions we need to take in order to live in balance with urban wildlife is an important part of the solution. Science (urban ecology) can provide the guidelines, but we need motivation to follow them. There is an equally important need to help more people understand that humans and animals are interdependent, and that our continued success depends on a diverse and healthy animal kingdom.


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URBAN WILDLIFE: LEARNING TO CO+EXIST premiered at the Rhode Island School of Design ISB Gallery from July 25 through August 18, 2018 and moves to ArtProv Gallery from October 3 through November 9, 2018.


The artwork selected for this exhibition reflects the artist’s effort to explore, through a combination of independent research and collaboration with scientific experts, the basic biology of their selected animal or animals, its urban ecology, and the many ways it interacts with humans. Check out our Urban Wildlife Google Drive folder for scientific references made available to participating artists. Scientific advisors were available to facilitate collaboration.

A partial list of urban wildlife species in North America includes bats, bees, coyotes, deer, elk, foxes, moose, peregrine falcons, raccoons, and red-tailed hawks. In other parts of the world, the choices will differ. Elephants are considered urban in many parts of Africa and Asia, for example. The term “urban wildlife” is a paradoxical one in many ways; exploring it may yield more questions than answers.


Consider the following themes: Time—how the urban environment changes as species leave an area, or return to it and reconstruct their environments; Space—how to define an urban ecosystem which can be as tiny as a puddle or as large as Los Angeles; Displacement—how people and urban wild animals displace each other depending on the circumstance; Visibility/Invisibility—how many urban animals are rarely seen or heard and how those we do see are moving or feeding; Rhythms—when and where urban animals breed, give birth, sleep, or die in the city; Health—how pollution (noise, light, soil, water, air) negatively affects humans and wild animals living in urban areas.


Three cash awards were given: two Jurors’ Choice Awards to Amy Chen and Jordan Walker, and one Honorable Mention to Adam Doyle. CONGRATULATIONS.

Jurors - Michele Aucoin, Gallery Director/ ArtProv Gallery, Charles Brown, Biologist, RI Department of Environmental Management, Susan Doyle, Associate Professor / Illustration Department Head / RISD, Traer Scott, Photographer / Creature Conserve Board Member, and Dr. Lucy Spelman, Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarian / Creature Conserve Founder