Alumnus Partners with Brookfield Zoo for ‘Operation Rhino’

Alumnus Kurt Fondriest's class recently partnered with Brookfield Zoo for Operation Rhino.

Fine Arts alumnus Kurt Fondriest (CCAD 1985) and director of art therapy programs at Misericordia Home recently partnered with Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo for the expressive arts project, ‘Operation Rhino.’ Artists and residents of the home painted a 300-pound rhino sculpture and met the real rhinos at the zoo as part of their curriculum.

“This was a wonderful partnership because it enabled Brookfield Zoo to bring us the sculpture of the rhino, for us to learn about the rhino, write about the rhino, and for it to culminate in the actual sculpture where we had to think up a design to put on the rhino,” Fondriest said in the video. “This project is a wonderful way to utilize the expressive arts. Through art therapy our residents learn that Misericordia is an environment, their homes are an environment, where the rhino lives is an environment [and so is] the living earth. Residents saw that the rhino is something they need to take care of for future residents to enjoy.”

“Our mission at the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership,” said  Matthew Mayer of the Chicago Zoological Society. “Through our partnership with Misericordia and [Operation] Rhino, it’s the men and women of Misericordia who have inspired us.”

The project was detailed on the zoo’s YouTube channel. You can watch it here.

Learn more about Fondriest and Misericordia on their website.