THE PROJECT Seal Sitters has been awarded a Department of Neighborhoods (DON) grant for our proposed educational outreach project, The Year of the Seal. The Neighborhood Matching Fund program awards require a “match” by volunteer labor, donated materials, donated professional services or cash. Seal Sitters volunteers will be donating many, many hours to this project, exceeding the required match in volunteer hours, but we will need to fundraise additional monies. Community involvement and mobilization will include art and essay participation by local elementary students and development of educational resources. The project will culminate with the installation at Alki Beach of a bronze sculpture depicting a mother harbor seal and her pup.
THE FACE OF THE SOUND The most abundant marine mammals in Puget Sound, harbor seals are the ones the general public is most likely to encounter on our shores. Seal Sitters uses the image of a harbor seal pup as the “ambassador” for the marine life of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound.
Harbor seals do not migrate and are year-round residents of our Salish Sea. They are considered by biologists to be an indicator species of the health of our waters. In fact, a 2005 study showed that the harbor seals of South Puget Sound were 7 times more contaminated with pollutants than those in Canada’s nearby Strait of Georgia (read more about the effects of marine pollution here). We, therefore, consider this species to represent the concerns we all have for preserving our natural world.
THE GOAL The Year of the Seal outreach project will serve to remind us that ours is a fragile ecosystem. It will raise community consciousness about the importance of protecting our marine environment - and that of all marine life, including shorebirds, that call Puget Sound home. It will provide a unique educational message that our urban shores are home to many other species - and a reminder to “Share the Shore” with wildlife. PROJECT STATUS Celebration Event: Harbor Seal Day On September 8, 2013, we will celebrate the culmination of our project, the dedication of the sculpture. Please check back for more details about the educational event.
Site Selection The installation site for the sculpture has been approved by Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. The sculpture will reside near the Alki Bathhouse. A public meeting to receive input from the community has been scheduled for May 13th from 7-8pm at the Alki Bathhouse. Artist Selection Process Seal Sitters' Year of the Seal project’s sculpture component has moved forward with the selection of an artist. A 10-member Selection Committee unanimously selected Georgia Gerber, well-known Pacific Northwest artist, to create a bronze sculpture of a harbor seal mother and pup to be installed on Alki Beach. The panel included members of the West Seattle community (Vice-President of the Alki Community Council, Arts Liaison for Seattle Parks, a respected art gallery owner and a successful local artist) and Seal Sitters representatives. We thank all of the very talented artists who applied for this project. The Sculpture Artist
Seal Sitters is excited that an artist of Georgia Gerber’s stature is creating this sculpture, shown working on the clay model in her Whidbey Island studio. Georgia has many public installations in the Northwest, including the much-loved bronzes Rachel the Pig at Pike’s Market and the Lowland Gorilla Family at Woodland Park Zoo. Many of her singular works show the intimate relationship of two or more animals and evoke an undeniable emotional response from the viewer. Georgia says, “I like my sculpture to invite an interaction with its audience. This is often meant to be a direct physical interaction, but always I strive to engage the viewer's imagination. I tend to present an incomplete visual narrative; a story is suggested, a feeling evoked, and the viewers find themselves providing details." You can view Georgia’s beautiful work here. The bronze piece will be cast in the foundry on her island property.
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Seal Sitters will be visiting local West Seattle elementary schools in May and early June. Please stay tuned for updates.
Art and Essay Contest (TBA) The winners of the children's essay and art contest will be featured on Seal Sitters' website and blog (and other media) and will be recognized at the celebration event.
FUNDRAISING - PLEASE HELP To make a contribution to the sculpture project, please donate here. All donations are tax deductible through our fiscal sponsor, Associated Recreation Council (ARC). We need to fundraise more than $5,000 for site preparation, landscaping materials and installation.
This is the third DON grant awarded to Seal Sitters for educational outreach projects, including a public service announcement, street banners which are displayed along Alki Avenue during pupping season and informational beach signage. Read about these earlier accomplishments here. Thanks to DON for such amazing support and belief in our projects. back to top