The Stark Museum of Art is proud to sponsor acclaimed author, naturalist and performer Brian “Fox” Ellis as he portrays the famous artist and naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851) for two special events: Flights of Fancy:  Evening Bird Stroll and Adventures with Audubon. On Wednesday, June 22, between the hours 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., Flights of Fancy will be at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, which is a partner in the project. On Thursday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m., Adventures with Audubon will be at the Lutcher Theater. Both of these events are family friendly and free to the public.
Since 1980, Ellis has been touring the world as a storyteller, researcher and speaker on environmental concerns at regional and international conferences, such as the International Wetlands Conservation Conference and the National Association of Gifted Educators Conference. His critically acclaimed performance, Adventures with Audubon, was recently honored by the Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholars Program.
On June 22, performer and author Brian “Fox” Ellis will be at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, for the Flights of Fancy: Evening Bird Stroll. During this  “come and go”  program, visitors will enjoy the sights and sounds as thousands of birds fly to Ruby Lake to roost for the night. Shangri La volunteers will guide visitors to four different stations on the Stroll, which will take approximately one hour.   Ellis will be at Shangri La’s state-of-the-art bird blind portraying John James Audubon and sharing stories of Audubon’s outdoor adventures.  At the other three stations, visitors will watch a twelve-minute segment from the film John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature, meet Maxine, the resident Barred Owl, and hear presentations from the Stark Museum of Art and Shangri La educators about Audubon and the birds he identified. 
On June 23, Ellis will be at Lutcher Theater, 707 West Main Avenue in Orange, performing Adventures with Audubon.  In this internationally acclaimed show, Ellis portrays Audubon using direct quotations from the artist’s journals, essays and letters.  This is a family friendly performance which features storytelling with images of Audubon’s art. Combining humor with meticulous research, Ellis presents a compelling image of the famous artist who finished a task never accomplished before: drawing every bird in North America. The performance will last approximately seventy-five minutes and will be presented without intermission.  Doors to the Theater will open at 6:00 p.m. to allow for seating prior to the 6:30 p.m. performance.
After the performance at Lutcher Theater, the Stark Museum of Art, located at 712 Green Avenue in Orange, will host a book-signing and reception with refreshments. Ellis is the author of numerous publications including The Web at Dragonfly Pond and Learning from the Land:  Teaching Ecology through Stories and Activities.  Currently on view at the Museum are selections from the Museum’s extensive collection of Audubon materials, including a volume of the artist’s own copy of the double elephant folio of The Birds of America, pattern prints and a rare pastel drawing from Audubon’s early period.
“We are delighted to provide two different programs using the talent and knowledge of Brian Ellis.  At the Bird Stroll, he will give a brief presentation in the outdoors, in the same way that Audubon loved to be among birds in nature.  The following evening, Ellis will give a stage performance exploring how Audubon presented himself and his art, followed by the opportunity to see extraordinary examples of Audubon’s artistry at the Museum,” commented Sarah Boehme, Museum Director.
For more information about Flights of Fancy: Evening Bird Stroll, call 409.670.9113 or visit . To find out more about the Adventures with Audubon, call 409.886.ARTS (2787) or visit .