Jan Rosetta Schockner on Art for Animals’ Sake

A cheetah and her three cubs

Headshot of Jan Rosetta

Jan Rosetta Schockner can’t recall exactly where or when her love for animals started, but she’s made them her life’s work. An accomplished artist who works under the name Rosetta, Jan specializes in bronze wildlife sculptures and has traveled to Africa to see the animals she loves in the wild. She supports several conservation organizations, including WWF, and has further committed herself to protecting animals and their habitats by joining WWF’s Legacy Circle, a group of people who help protect the future of nature by including WWF in their estate plans.

What is it about animals that inspires your work?
In 1984, I did my first animal sculpture, a seated cheetah. I started studying the various animals I was interested in—mostly big cats—and I realized that so many people had misperceptions of these majestic animals. My sculptures allow me to change those perceptions and show lions, cheetahs, wolves, and other wildlife for the beautiful, powerful, sentient animals they are. As predators, they do what they need to do—for survival and for the balance of nature. The juxtaposition of their beauty and ferocity captivates me.

You’ve been to Africa five times since 2000. Do you have a favorite memory from the time you’ve spent there?
I have a special place in my heart for cheetahs. During our most recent trip, we were out with a guide on the Serengeti in Tanzania when we spotted a mother cheetah with her three cubs. I’d seen cheetahs before, but this time was different. As we watched, the mother got up, walked to an old termite mound, and jumped up on top to survey the landscape. Her cubs followed, climbing all over her and each other. She was working, surrounded by her children, who were only interested in playtime. It was a magical moment that affected me and my work—so much so that I preserved the experience in a sculpture called “Single Mom.”

Why is supporting WWF important to you?
I’m grateful that organizations like WWF are out there fighting the good fight. Supporting WWF is one way I participate in the very important work that has to be done to protect these animals and their habitat. I hope that my sculptures help in some way too. I make each piece of art in the hopes that it will inspire others to cherish these creatures as I do.

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