NewsNews5 Originals


Cronk Art: Insect conservation through art classes

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-01 21:28:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Tejon Street in Downtown Colorado Springs is seeing way more butterflies, moths, and beetles (and other such critters) this season as one bug-minded business owner works to bring more and more people into the conversation via fascinating art and insect pinning classes.

Andrew Cronk, who owns and operates Cronk Art and Curiosities, has been a big fan of bugs since a young age; it's a passion that's had him working in and around gardens throughout his life before making the jump into the world of art and small-business ownership.

That jump started in 2018 when Andrew started professionally producing insect taxidermy.

He works with all sorts of specimens from butterflies to spiders and more; everything is sourced ethically and everything can be used to spark conversations that he hopes will lead folks to be more conservation-minded.

"Our focus first and foremost for the business is insects in conservation," commented Andrew, "and by putting some of the dead specimens in front of people's faces, it get's people to appreciate them, ask the questions, ask what they can do to help potentially, or even how to grow a garden to get them in their backyard."

Following a few years of web-based commerce, Andrew opened his first brick and mortar in Downtown Colorado Springs during late 2021 where he operated for about a year-and-a-half before moving into another, larger downtown location (104 North Tejon Street) during March of this year.

While each move has constituted dramatic changes in locales, the goal of conservation through conversations has stayed the same; so it's not too surprising that the Art and Curiosities company started pulling double duty as a classroom during late 2022.

Andrew started teaching folks how to pin their own insects last year, and now, with the most recent move, hopes to boost community engagement with even more classes that span a variety of specimens, "Not everyone is going to love a tarantula, not everyone is going to love a moth, but somebody might want to do a beetle or a butterfly; and [with] butterflies we have tons of options."

The space embraces the odd; with a prominent, neon sign adorning a wall near the front of the store asking the question, "Don't you deserve something weird?"

It's a word that Andrew is working on reclaiming, "By intriguing people with that word, we're then able to have that conversation, we're then being able to talk about, well maybe it's not so weird to care about something, maybe it's not so weird to be passionate about a bee or a butterfly or a tarantula."

Beyond classes and art displays, the shop also regularly raises live specimens (in addition to their standard coterie of captivating, arachnid residents) for folks to gaze at and learn about.

Additionally, plans are in motion to plant two pollinator gardens this spring, with one located in Acacia Park and the other along Wahsatch Avenue.

To learn more about Cronk Art and Curiosities or maybe how you can get involved in insect conservation, click here.