Southern Magazine announced this past fall that Aiken was the best new town in the south. That certainly got people to take notice of this small town nestled in the deep south. Residents already knew about their hidden jewel, with it's quaint shopping, and the majestic magnolia lined streets which lends subtle perfume throughout the air come spring. That's not the only thing that delights the eyes, the granddames and hallmark of this town, and a somewhat other worldly view of nature... the sentinels of live oaks, who stand guard and shelter South boundary with their evergreen leaves. As you drive down the road they transport you back in time to a era long forgotten in the heart of South Carolina. Its a gem of a town where the love of nature is prized. Take a walk in the 2000 acre preserve in the center of town called Hitchcock woods, where on a Wednesday or Saturday morning its heady furvert of activity and a throwback to elegant times. You just might be lucky enough to see the Aiken Hunt gather for a fox hunt resplendent in tweed, well groomed horses and of course the hounds! Its also a protected ecosystem for the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker, and the Longleaf pine. It's hard not to fall in love with a town steeped in the love of the environment, southern heritage, equines, hounds and good food!
Just the place to land for this Wildlife Conservation artist from New England! Born and raised in the south, Whitney moved to New England. She decided to move from Connecticut and most recently Boston in August 2019. She found just the place here in Aiken! With a new art studio and enough room for her 3 dogs and horse, she is carving out her spot among the other artists who flock to the South.
"I wanted to come back to the South where my parents and grandparents grew up, I always felt more connected down here than I did in New England. Of course it doesn't hurt that there isn't 6 feet of snow covered streets!"
As a wildlife & equine artist this seemed like a good fit, with opportunity to paint and photograph any number of activities associated with horses here in Aiken. Whitney is very heavily involved in working with non-profit wildlife action groups in Africa and world wide. Her subject matter tends to lean towards endangered species and she donates a portion of her profits to support those causes.
Africa has always had a strong pull for me, I suppose the romance of reading about the mystery of the safari in the early 20's when travel was glamourous and the environment was a mystery. Trail blazers in conservation Teddy Roosevelt, Ansel Adams and writers like Beryl Markham, Isac Densen (Karen Von Blixen) and Hemmingway have all inspired me from an early age. But it was Jane Goodall and Joy Adamson, who made the biggest impact and turned my thoughts to Africa.
Whitney has come back to art after a long career in the equine pharmaceutical field. In a few short years she decided to go back to school and was accepted at Tufts University Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, where she focused on illustration. In the short time she has been back to her fine art and illustration, she was elected as a Signature Member to the Artists for Conservation in Vancouver BC. Her work was accepted into the David Shepard's International Wildlife Artist of the Year in London, and most recently her work was accepted in Art of Conservation Exhibit which was produced in the coffee table book.
Whitney has also started a graphic design business here in Aiken. Her illustration and digital design work have adorned covers, brochures, magazines in a variety of industries. She offers logo design as well as illustrations for the publishing and consumer industry in addition to her fine art paintings.
She enjoys painting en plein-air which was another reason she decided on the south. She will occasionally take out new comers and other artists, she also offers workshops on pastels, drawing and painting in her new studio in SC.
To see more of her work visit her on her website www.whitneykurlan.com. To view her endangered wildlife species and ecosystems from around the world check out her "Vanashing Wildlife Collection" with a hefty donation to support wildlife. She is also working on a series of illustrations for 10 children's books about a pony... how appropriate!
To see more of her work visit her on her website at www.whitneykurlan.com or