You’ve seen them, maybe at 117 Market Street in Wilmington. Or on a warehouse wall in Baltimore. Or on the side of the San Diego National Bank. They’re “Whaling Walls” — life-size murals celebrating whales and their habitat. These colorful tributes to the ocean have been painted by one of the world’s premiere environmental artists — Wyland.
As part of his national Ocean Challenge, Wyland will visit the University of Delaware’s Coast Day festival in Lewes, on Sunday, October 4, to encourage students of all ages to help paint an ocean mural on a 24-foot-long plywood “canvas” erected on the University’s grounds.
“The goal of our Ocean Challenge is to inspire youngsters to learn more about the sea and the creatures that rely on it every moment of every day for their existence,” Wyland says. “By challenging students to paint a mural about marine life, we hope to increase awareness of the ocean and the need to take good care of this wondrous resource.”
With the help of local dignitaries, Wyland will officially kick off the Ocean Challenge at Coast Day at noon from the bandstand. From noon to 4 p.m., students of all ages -- from kindergarten through college -- will be invited to help paint an ocean mural in the mall area between Smith and Cannon labs.
Each student will receive a certificate of participation with signatures from several famous ocean stewards, from Vice-President Al Gore to ocean pioneer Sylvia Earle. To aid students in painting the mural, teachers and volunteers will be on hand to mix paint, cover youngsters with T-shirts to protect them from spills, and provide instruction where needed. The finished mural will then be photographed and officially entered into Wyland’s Ocean Challenge, with winners to be announced in November.
Wyland will be on hand to talk with the public at Coast Day about how the ocean has inspired him to paint and sculpt one of the largest collections of marine art in the world. In fact, Wyland is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for completing the largest mural or painting ever. Planet Ocean, in Long Beach, California, is over 3 acres and required 7,000 gallons of paint. It was completed by Wyland and volunteers in six weeks in 1992.
Wyland also will be available to sign copies of his latest book for Coast Day visitors. Published by Time Life Books in honor of the International Year of the Ocean, The Undersea World of Wyland contains more than 100 full-color reproductions of some of the artist’s most striking art, including a compelling overview of his Whaling Wall project. Copies of the book will be for sale at Coast Day courtesy of the University of Delaware Bookstore. For more information about the book signing, call (302) 831-3077.
Wyland’s artwork, from oil paintings to watercolors, sculptures, and most recently, ceramic tile murals, has been featured in exhibitions worldwide as well as in 32 Wyland galleries in the United States. His commitment to increasing public awareness and appreciation for marine resources has been recognized around the globe. Earlier this year, he was named by the United Nations as the official artist for the International Year of the Ocean.
Coast Day is sponsored by the University of Delaware’s Graduate College of Marine Studies and Sea Grant College Program. The festival will be held Sunday, October 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, in Lewes. Now in its 22nd year, Coast Day highlights ocean resources through a variety of family-oriented activities, from marine research demonstrations to a crab cake cook-off. Admission is free; parking is $2 per vehicle. For more information, contact the Marine Communications Office at (302) 831-8083, or visit our Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu.