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Birds, Birds, Birds

“Forgetting is another kind of extinction,” says sculptor Todd McGrain. That’s why he’s worked to memorialize extinct species of birds with impressive bronze sculptures. McGrain installs the larger-than-life sculptures in places throughout North America significant to where the birds once thrived in a series of works he calls “The Lost Bird Project”.  

One of these memorials, Labrador Duck, can be found in our very own Brand Park in Elmira, NY.  The other memorialized species are the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. McGrain has been sculpting for over 25 years, and has had his work featured in museums and gardens worldwide.  His sculptural work led to the creation of the documentary, “The Lost Bird Project,” a film about public art, extinction and memory. Click through to view the trailer.

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“Labrador Duck” – Elmira, NY.

On February 5, 2015, The Rockwell Museum welcomes Todd McGrain for a viewing and discussion of The Lost Bird Project: Film. The Lost Bird Project tells the birds’ extinction stories and follows McGrain’s attempt to find permanent homes for the sculptures. The film is an elegy to the five birds and a thoughtful and sometimes humorous look at the artist and his mission. McGrain will facilitate the film and close with a book signing for his recently published book.

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As an offshoot to The Lost Bird Project, Fold the Flock was initiated – this arts-based environmental non-profit has a mission to connect people more deeply to the earth through art. Like The Rockwell, Fold the Flock believes that art can move people in a way that ideas and intellect alone cannot. Because 2014 marks the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, Fold the Flock invites participants memorialize the species by folding origami Passenger Pigeons, and adding their paper birds to the ever-growing virtual flock.

This month, The Rockwell’s Family Exploration Studio features this origami project. Visitors can fold their very own origami Passenger Pigeon, then take it home with them or add it to The Rockwell’s collection, which will be displayed in the window of The Museum Store.  Also on view in The Family Exploration Studio, visitors will find an historic specimen of the Passenger Pigeon, artfully mounted with an educational description of the life and death of the species.

In honor of McGrain’s program, The Rockwell Museum Store is also featuring charming bird-themed ceramics, and McGrain’s recently published book will also be available for purchase.

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Because space is limited, those interested in attending the film event on February 5 are encouraged to make advance reservations – please click here to learn more.

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