"Baltimore's Betsy the Finger-Painting Chimp: A Retrospective of Her Work" will be exhibited at the American Dime Museum from January 10 until March 21, 2004. An opening reception will be held on January 9, 2004, from 7-9 pm; the reception is free and open to the public.
The exhibition includes 13 colorful finger-paintings by Betsy the Chimp (1951-60), the Baltimore Zoo's finger-painting primate during the fabulous fifties and is comprised of works on loan from the Baltimore Zoo and private collections as well as from the American Dime Museum's permanent collection. Baltimore luminaries including former governor and mayor William Donald Schaefer, filmmaker John Waters (also a member of the American Dime Museum's board of advisers), and American Visionary Art Museum founder Rebecca Hoffberger have contributed their remembrances of Betsy's work to the exhibition.
Betsy's finger-painting attracted international attention in the 1950s; she appeared on network television and was profiled in numerous publications. While Betsy was alive and painting, the sale of her paintings generated $3,500 for the Baltimore Zoo and one of her finger-paintings was commissioned by the Winnipeg Tribune in 1957. Her obituary appeared on the front page of the Baltimore News-Post in February 1960 and described her as "the Picasso of the primates, the Jackson Pollack of the apes."