The Goddard Art Center welcomes renowned wildlife photographer, Arctic explorer and artist J.J. L’Heureux who will give a lecture on her travels and adventures at 7 p.m. today. The lecture will be followed by an opening of her art exhibit and book signing in the Goddard Art Galleries. The event is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be available for viewing through June 28.

L’Heureux’s exhibit, “Emperor Penguins: A Photographic Expedition to Antarctica,” features photographs taken over 13 different expeditions to the Continental ice of Antarctica from Atka Bay to Halley Station and the Antarctic Peninsula. Her love of wildlife photography in a pristine environment began in 2000 when she first traveled to Antarctica, intending to create a digital study of snow and ice images. The penguins, seals, whales and varied birdlife became her living models in the vast, cold white landscapes.

L’Heureux attended the San Francisco Art Institute, the Academy of Art, the Parsons School of Design and Eastern Michigan University. Just a small portion of her illustrious life incudes being a certified docent at the San Francisco Zoo, traveling on Russian icebreakers, serving as a guest photography lecturer on adventure cruises, working with the London Zoo to save the Spoon-billed Sanpeper, and participating in The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.

In March, she was invited to accompany another nature photographer to take images of the annual birthing of Harp Seals on the sea ice. She met him on Iles de la Madeleine in northeastern Canada in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

“Locating the Harp Seals and their pups required a helicopter to take us wherever the sea ice drifted from day to day.” said L’Heureux, “I was as cold as I had ever been anywhere including Antarctica. The helicopter company provided a beautiful yellow “mustang” survival suit. The suit helped to keep me almost warm in the -38 degree weather that did not include the wind chill factor. Thank goodness I was wearing some of my Antarctica gear under my suit.”

When not traveling, she lives and works from her studio in Venice, Calif.

L’Heureux’s travels have resulted in two books including the “Good Day Book” which will featured during her book signing at the Goddard Center. The book is a collection of photos from L’Heureux’s expeditions to Antarctica in the islands of the Southern Ocean. It features 51 action photographs of penguins and seals which are highlighted with inspirational quotes intended to brighten spirits and enlarge an appreciation of the environment.

The Goddard Art Galleries are open during normal businesses hours, Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. The center is closed on Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. The Charles B. Goddard Center is located at 401 First Avenue SW. For more information call (580) 226-0909.