Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) will host AFC's touring exhibit comprising most of the artwork from the recent 2023 AFC Festival in Vancouver. Over 50 artworks will be on display to the public from December 16, 2023 through March 3, 2024.
The ASDM is a combination of zoological park, botanical garden, nature education center, and conservation organization. True to its mission statement, the Museum seeks "...to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert." To fulfill its mission the Museum displays living animals and plants in naturalistic habitat exhibits and stresses a strong interpretive and conservation focus on ecological processes.
The Museum is unusual in that it seeks to interpret in depth a limited ecosystem, the Sonoran Desert, located in Arizona, the northern Mexican State of Sonora, and Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. When applicable it interprets relationships with the desert's adjacent biomes, including nearby or enclosed mountain ranges, grasslands, the Gulf of California and its islands, and at its southern borders, thornscrub and tropical deciduous forests. The Desert Museum is regularly listed as one of the top ten zoological parks in the world because of its unique approach to interpreting the complete natural history of a single region. The Museum undertakes a wide and varied program to support its objectives of interpretation, education, research, and conservation.
The Art Institute began a series of art classes to expand students' understanding and appreciation of dessert ecology and conservation. As the artistic voice of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Art Institute coordinates art classes, maintains the art collection and manages the many art exhibits that come to the museum. It is internationally recognized for offering a certificate program in nature illustration focused on the Sonoran Desert region. The mission of the Art Institute is conservation through art education which expresses the belief that students at the Art Institute develop a greater appreciation of the desert as a direct result of the time and effort they have taken to learn to draw its many aspects. Conservation begins with appreciation and understanding. The ties of observation and knowledge bind artists to conservation efforts. As John Muir said, "When you tug on a single thing in nature, you find it attached to the rest of the world."