Two chimpanzees living in the Northwest are competing in a national art contest. The chimps and their caretakers are trying to win a $10,000 first prize for their respective sanctuaries.
The abstract artwork entered by Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington was created using children's finger paint enhanced with sunflower seed shells. "It's kind of a mixed media piece," says sanctuary outreach director Diana Goodrich. She says the chimp artist is a retired biomedical study subject named Jamie.
"When (Jamie) is really involved in an activity like that, you can just see the concentration on her face and her enjoyment," Goodrich said. "That's part of the art contest, showing all of the enrichment that the sanctuaries do to help enhance the lives of the chimps we care for."
Another artist in the contest is Patti, a retired amusement park performer who lives at the Chimps, Inc. sanctuary in Bend, Oregon. Her colorful finger painting vaguely resembles seagulls in flight.
Online voting will determine the prize winners. Voting ends on Thursday, with the winners to be announced next week. In order to vote, you have to give your email address to the Humane Society of the United States.