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Funny Zoo Will Place Quirky Life-Sized Animals Sculptures All Over L.A.

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A new art installation will put fun animal sculptures in multiple neighborhoods around the Los Angeles area, each painted by a different local artist. Funny Zoo US will place the animals—including pandas, giraffes, rhinos, horses, elephants and more—each painted or styled by a different L.A. artist, in various neighborhoods beginning in June. They'll remain around L.A. for six months, before being auctioned off at a gala in December. Proceeds will from that auction will benefit the California Wildlife Center.

Funny Zoo first emerged in France and has appeared in several other cities in Europe. It comes via French Pacific Events, a Malibu-based company founded by event producers Bernard Scoffié & Jean-Fabrice Brune. The pair hope to promote awareness of endangered wildlife and conservation.

"Our underlying idea is to get wildlife out of the captivity of zoos and free them to the public streets where their playful, imaginative stand-ins can be safely introduced to the public in an exciting, up-close and personally engaging encounter," Scoffié said, via a release.

The Wolf Fine Art's Chuck Wolf is in charge of curating Los Angeles' Funny Zoo. He tells LAist that the number of total animals is "constantly in flux." They are starting with 12 pieces, but because sponsors are able to come in at any point over the six-month exhibition period, there could be more. Wolf is hoping to double the amount of sculptures by the time the event is over.

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The sculptures themselves are imported from France, where French Pacific Events works with a factory to produce what Wolf calls "blanks," or sculptures without anything painted on them.

"They are fiberglass—which incidentally is all recycled materials to begin with—and they come in to L.A. naked or blank. They weigh about 250 pounds, and are delivered to that artist to paint," Wolf says.

Rules include no logos and the design must be family-friendly, but other than that, artists are free to choose their own themes and aesthetic. Once stylized, each animal is then attached to a 400-pound cement mounting stand, and Funny Zoo takes responsibility for any repairs throughout the duration of the event.

So far, Wolf says they have permission to install in Malibu, Beverly Hills, Venice and WeHo. Each municipality gave them different rules: in Malibu, they will only be putting the animals in parks, but in Venice, there won't be any in parks. The animals will not stay in one set location the entire six months, but will move around.

Wolf doesn't have a map or timeline for where exactly they'll be, but he said to check Malibu parks come mid-June. There will also be a live painting of a dolphin sculpture on July 30-31 at the Malibu Arts Festival, and then the dolphin will hang out at Webb Way for a while.

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The event is seeking additional sponsorship of individual sculptures, as well as artists who may want to paint those sculptures. To get involved, visit them online here. You can keep track of them on Facebook here.