Spotlight: Hop to it

Gary Williams

Gary Williams

by Mimi Montgomery

When Terry Thirion and her neighbors in Charlotte realized they didn’t hear nearly as many frogs croaking in their backyards at night, the artist did some research. She learned that because amphibians are highly sensitive to environmental change, they often serve as a bellwether of ecosystem health: a decline in population often indicates a compromised habitat. She also learned that frogs have been named a critically endangered group by the IUCN Red List of Threatened species.

She immediately wanted to help preserve the species and its environments. Honing her artistic skills, she began the Disappearing Frogs Project in 2013, using paintings of the amphibians and their habitats to spread the message about the declining frog population. After a visit to Penland School of Crafts, she realized she could reach a wider audience by opening the cause to all interested artists. Thirion had her first collaborative show in Charlotte in February 2014, with over 200 pieces inspired by nature and amphibians. A second show in Rock Hill, S.C. soon followed.

This year, she’s bringing the cause to the Triangle. With the help of Pam Hopkins, her regional director of communications, the group has 15 events scheduled in the area over three months. They recently partnered with the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), a national nonprofit that works with smaller organizations to promote amphibian conservation. Each venue will feature a different collection of art from local artists, and all proceeds from the art sold will benefit the ASA.

Thirion wants exhibit viewers to know that anyone can make a difference, no matter how small. “The possibility that this message gets out there is so much greater when you have more people involved,” she says. “One artist can impact 25 people.” And hopefully help expand the project’s reach, too: Thirion would like to host more shows throughout the nation and the world. “It’s important for our future as humans to have frogs around … everything we do and our footprints are important for us to take a serious look at.”

Disappearing Frogs Project Exhibition

N.C. State University, The Crafts Center

February 1 – March 3

210 Jensen Drive

Book Signing

February 26, 7 p.m.

Quail Ridge Books

3522 Wade Ave.

Disappearing Frogs Project Exhibition

Museum of Life and Science

March 1 – May 1

433 W. Murray Ave., Durham

Art Exhibition: The Other Toy Story

N.C. State University, Talley Student Union

March 14 – April 22

2610 Cates Ave.

Disappearing Frogs Project Exhibition

Marbles Kids Museum

April 1 – 29

201 E. Hargett St.

For a full list of exhibits, visit