San Marcos has mermaids, Seabrook has pelicans, but soon Galveston will have the most endearing of them all, the State Sea Turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley. “Turtles About Town” is a public art project that will feature the beloved local in numerous locations throughout the City, each with a different theme.
While the project will work tirelessly to continue to raise awareness on Galveston Island about the endangered species and what residents and visitors can do to best protect them, the project also hopes to become an attraction for tourists that will promote economic growth within the community.
Turtle Island Restoration Network, a leading advocate for the ocean and marine wildlife, has partnered with Clay Cup Studios, a local interactive art studio, to bring this project to the Island. Community businesses and organizations will be asked to sponsor a turtle while local artists will be commissioned to give each one its own personality and meaning that is representative of Galveston.
“Galveston is a unique city that embraces its local business,” said Amy. “Statistically when a city embraces art in their community it has an average of 17.6% economic growth. Not only that but small business donates on average 250% more to non-profits and community outreach than big business. Pair these two statistics together and you get magic.”
The first “Turtle About Town” will be appropriately themed “The Protector” and will be unveiled and placed outside of Galveston’s City Hall near Fire Station 1 on March 28, 2018. The turtle will be a tribute to the protection that both the Galveston Police Department and the Galveston Fire Department provide for our City.
“This project encompasses so many things that make me proud to be a Galvestonian,” said Mayor Jim Yarbrough. “This concerted effort to bring awareness to what public art can do for a community, as well as the conservation-minded effort behind the message is beautifully done and we are proud to have the first statue here at City Hall.”
This project will not only create a family-friendly tour that visitors can take when visiting the island as they search for each uniquely different statue, the team is also working with local school districts to incorporate the tour into lesson plans that include hands-on educational opportunities for our youth.
“Outreach and education in our community are vital for the conservation of sea turtles and the marine environment. Our programs bring awareness on watershed, marine debris and habitat, and how people can make simple changes in their lifestyle to reduce their footprint,” said Joanie Steinhaus, Gulf of Mexico Program Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Amy and I worked with the Mayor and our City Manager on the dedication date for the sea turtle sculpture to raise awareness of the beginning of our sea turtle nesting season on April 1.”
About Turtle Island Restoration Network
Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is a leading advocate for the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. Their mission is to mobilize people in local communities around the world to protect marine wildlife and the oceans and inland watersheds that sustain them. Their work is buoyed by thousands of supporters, volunteers and pro bono professionals, who help them extend their network around the globe. They accomplish their mission through grassroots empowerment, consumer action, strategic litigation, hands-on restoration, environmental education, and by promoting sustainable local, national and international marine policies. For more information please visit seaturtles.org.