If you saw the gorgeous green shirts we had for preorder in March, you saw the bright and cheerful Golden-cheeked Warbler design that won our 2021 shirt design contest. For the artist behind the design, Juliet Whitsett, this was not not the first time working with an endangered species as the focal point of a piece.
Since 2019, Juliet has been learning about, and bringing awareness to Endangered, Threatened and Species of Greatest Conservation Need with her conservation art series THREATENED TEXAS. This series is designed to celebrate the incredible diversity and importance of species in Texas. For this project, Juliet is dedicated to sharing what she learns about each of Texas’ 147 Threatened Species, and 74 Endangered Species by sampling colors from their actual images, and creating original art inspired by their unique palettes. For these works, she researches the species, reaches out to experts in the field and creates original art inspired by each of of the important links of our world’s biodiversity at risk of being lost.
Growing up, Juliet would go on road trips and camp throughout the US with her family. Her mother was in education, so she had summers off to explore. They always had a State Park Pass and her parents were dedicated to organizing family camping trips and spending ample time outdoors. Much of high school and early college, she worked at her local state park, Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin. Having the opportunity to go to work every day in one of the most stunning landscapes was spectacular. However, the real moment she understood conservation was when her high school science teacher became very passionate and dedicated to teaching about rainforest deforestation. Juliet and her best friend signed up for one of his first 2 week conservation trips to Belize, which ended up being a life-changing experience.
Juliet has spent her entire career weaving together Arts, Experiential and Environmental Education. She has had the honor to have worked in Arts & Environmental Education for organizations like the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the High Line in New York, the Thinkery and Austin Discovery School. Juliet has had the fortune to have organized youth gardening projects as teacher and as an AmeriCorps VISTA* Volunteer. She holds a Masters in Community-Based Arts Education from The University of Texas at Austin (2015), and earned her BA in Arts Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1999). Currently, she is an artist and the small-business owner of Giddyup Art Studio LLC, where she creates art, teaches, and consults.
When asked about her favorite bird, she said it tends to be whatever one she is creating art about at the time. However, she’s had multiple encounters with a Barred Owl at her Community Garden, and she looks out for him every time she goes, so he, specifically, is her favorite.
Featured image above is several of Juliet’s works from her THREATENED TEXAS project, including the Golden-cheeked Warbler piece featured on this year’s Travis Audubon shirts.