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Zoo Unveils African Village Murals – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Gigi Allianic
Phone: 206.684.4838

SEATTLE -- To culminate Black History Month, Woodland Park Zoo and Zoo & You Teens 2000 held a ceremony today to unveil its African Village murals. The interpretive murals were designed to grace the barrier fencing of the zoo's upcoming African Village exhibit currently under construction.

Since September, Zoo & You teens have teamed up with ethnically diverse artists to create the murals. Under the tutelage of these talented artists, the teens gained insight into the wildlife, habitat and indigenous cultures of East Africa as they designed the murals evocative of these elements. Zoo & You participants are multicultural teens selected from the zoo's award-winning math and science outreach program, Science to Save Wildlife.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation generously funded African Village, which opens this May. The exhibit will immerse visitors in a representation of a rural village in East Africa. The village will contain both traditional (thatch-roofed) and contemporary (metal-roofed) structures, including a community pavilion (palaver hut) for educational programming and special events, a primary school house, a teacher's house and a traditional Kikuyu house. The Kikuyu are the largest ethnic group in Kenya.

Visitors will see the traditional Kikuyu-style archway and fence from the South Gate Plaza. This attractive, exotic scene will draw visitors into the village where they will get their first views of giraffe, zebra and other species living on the zoo's award-winning African Savanna.
The African Village mural project was recently honored with the City of Seattle's Artie Award for outstanding contribution in Arts and Culture within the Department of Parks and Recreation. The mural project was made possible through the help of various community partners including Rotary Boys & Girls Club and Daniel Smith Artists' Materials.

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