Featured Image: The Wyland Foundation will unveil a new mural, the first in a series of 40, depicting a baby gray whale during the Festival of Whales at the Dana Point Harbor on Saturday morning, March 5. Photo: Courtesy of the Wyland Foundation
By Breeana Greenberg
New artwork depicting a baby gray whale will be unveiled at the Dana Point Harbor during this weekend’s Festival of Whales.
The statuette, which features a baby gray whale referred to as “Stella,” is the first of a 40-mural series, and is part of the Wyland Foundation’s Streams of Hope project—an awareness and action campaign to reduce pollution and marine debris along the coast.
“We want everyone who comes in contact with Stella to gain a better understanding of the problems of water pollution and how people can help fight the problem every day,” said Steve Creech, president of the Wyland Foundation. “Gray whales are the monarch symbol of our state, but as majestic as they are, they are highly vulnerable to pollution like so many other species.”
The Wyland Foundation, funded by environmental artist Robert Wyland in 1993, works to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, waterways and marine life. Through community events, educational programs and public art projects, the foundation encourages environmental awareness.
Throughout March, these 8-foot by 4-foot, relief-style murals will be painted by artists across Orange County. The mural that will be unveiled at the Festival of Whales was painted by Huntington Beach artist Dave Reynolds.
“Most of the artists are going to be local to that city, and then that statuette will be sponsored by that water district, painted by local artists and displayed in that area,” Creech said. “We want to keep it really local, because that’s really how we feel like these issues are going to be addressed; it’s locality by locality, neighborhood by neighborhood. That’s how you deal with pollution.”
The Wyland Foundation hopes to exhibit these murals in shopping centers, city halls, schools, and along Orange County storm channels in an effort to bring awareness to the impacts of land-based pollution on marine ecosystems.
The Streams of Hope website will be updated with the location and pictures of the murals as they are placed throughout Orange County.
To be a good environmentalist, the Wyland Foundation believes that one needs to both care and be informed. This program brings both of those aspects together, Creech said, to remind people of “the beauty around them and also encouraging them to seek out information and ways that they can get involved and take action.”
During the Festival of Whales, families will also get a chance to paint their own version of the gray whale on a 12-foot-long mural painting easel, which will be next to the Stella statuette.
“We’re going to have a 12-foot mural right next to it, so everybody can work together on a mural and celebrate the arts and creativity, and get people inspired about taking care of their little corner of the community, not just through Earth Day, but all year long,” Creech said. “We hope that this will inspire people to apply their own creativity into solving our environmental problems.”
For the project, Wyland is partnering with the Orange County Conservation Corps, Municipal Water District of Orange County, and the County of Orange, with additional support from the Toro Company, USA Surfing and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
The campaign will culminate in a large coastal and waterway cleanup effort on Earth Day.
The mural unveiling will occur at Dana Point Harbor at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, during the Festival of Whales.
“We’re really grateful for the Festival to open their arms to this,” Creech said.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at email@example.com