Thursday, March 26, 2009

REGI Van Gets a Super Makeover!

(Photo: Steve Fisher with Tessa, REGI Bald Eagle pose with our beautiful van.)

Several years ago an artist came to REGI to take photos. Mark Mittlesteadt had an interest in raptors, however once arrived, all the birds fascinated him. He wanted to portray them all exactly as he saw them for his paintings. Through the years Mark remained a friend. A few years ago he came to me with an idea. He wanted to do a painting. The painting would include as many of REGIs educational birds as possible. A few months later Mark arrived with a sketch of his idea. He would use both diurnal and nocturnal birds in the painting. One side of the painting would be daylight. Under bright skies the eagles and hawks would perch. Then through the use of color and his copious talent, darkness would gradually creep into the painting. In the darkness owls would reside. It was complicated but I knew it would be magnificent. Finally, Mark suggested his painting would be used on the REGI van.
WOW! Super idea, but I knew the painting Mark envisioned would be a massive undertaking. Knowing the perfectionist nature in this fine artist I was not holding my breath. A month or so ago Mark contacted me. Not only was the painting finished, but he found partners to donate their time to turn his painting first into a vinyl and then have it installed.

Two weeks ago the van went into D&L Signs in Weston, WI to begin the transformation. I confess my own artistic ability ended in the third grade, so I had a hard time imagining the finished product. Last week we drove our enhanced van back to REGI. It is amazing! We are thrilled with the finished product. People called REGI staff even as we drove it from Weston to Antigo to inquire about the “moving art”.

(Photo: REGI van with Kirk Reimann D&L Signs Owner and Tony Borchardt
Graphic Designer.)

We cannot thank artist Mark Mittlesteadt of Air Brush Designs in Rothschild, Peter Vance of The Studio in Weston and Kirk Reimann of D&L Signs in Weston for this tremendous gift.

We are still a bit at a loss for words, but believe us when we say that if you see the van and have ever seen a REGI presentation you will recognize each of the birds. They are depicted that perfectly. Mark has additionally offered to develop posters the REGI organization can sell as a fundraiser using his painting.

The van itself was purchased a few years ago with a generous donation from Vanguard
Charitable Endowment Program when our old van was no longer road worthy.

These gifts serve to remind us and the public we encounter, of our wonderful supporters and how much we depend on their generosity. Without you we would not be able to continue to help wildlife. To say we are grateful is an understatement.

Thank you everyone!
Marge Gibson

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