At 9 o’clock one morning this past October, wildlife sculptor and gallery owner Ken Rowe received a phone call from his brother and sister-in-law, who were visiting from Phoenix. They had spotted a tiny creature on the side of 89A in front of Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. At first, they thought it was a squirrel, but upon closer inspection, they realized it was a furry, frightened baby javelina.
The creature was dazed but alert. Unfortunately, her four-legged family was nowhere to be found. Ken immediately reached out to Runnin’ W Wildlife Center in Cornville.
The nonprofit’s founder, Billy Harvey, determined that the baby, only a week old, had been clipped by a car. Fortunately, she had escaped any serious harm, and she started to bounce back – quickly. “In two weeks, she’d doubled her weight,” says Ken. “She was feisty, too, trying to bite anyone who came near her.”
Three weeks later, Ken’s brother returned and helped transfer the peccary, named Squirrel by Ken’s sister-in-law, to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, where she was introduced to a herd of other rescued javelinas. They welcomed her with open hooves. This spring, Squirrel and her adopted herd will be released into the wild.
Will Squirrel inspire Ken, who always tries to sculpt from real-life models, to embark on a new javelina sculpture? Ken hasn’t ruled it out, but what we do know for certain is that Squirrel has prompted the theme for Rowe Fine Art Gallery’s 2023 shows: the art of storytelling. When you come right down to it, artists are storytellers, using paint, clay and precious metals the same way a writer uses words. There’s a story behind each of the paintings, sculptures and pieces of jewelry in the gallery; stay tuned as some of those are told over the coming 12 months.
To get things started, head to the gallery on Friday, January 6, at 4 p.m. for A Wild Story, the first show in the series, where the wildlife that has inspired some of the gallery’s artists to create their most beloved pieces will be the focus. Rowe Fine Art Gallery’s family of artists includes painters Julie T. Chapman, Dane Chinnock, Kim Diment, Jen Farnsworth, Lynn Heil, Gary Jenkins, John Rasberry and Amy Ringholz; sculptors Shirley Eichten Albrecht, Kim Kori, Alvin Marshall, Erik Petersen, Joel Petersen, Ken Rowe and Joshua Tobey; and jewelers Liam Herbert and Jennifer Inge.
Rowe Fine Art Gallery represents traditional and contemporary southwestern artists. The gallery, located under the bell tower in Patio de las Campanas at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 928-282-8877, visit rowegallery.com, or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.