Art Challenge Encouraged Thousands of Students in 40 states to Explore Connection to Ocean Through Art and Mural Painting

IRVINE CA – Renowned ocean muralist and conservationist Wyland announced that schools in Del Mar, CA, Locust Valley, NY and Hackensack, NJ were named the grand prize winners of the National “Water Is Life” Classroom mural contest. The contest theme, “Our Ocean”, encouraged students to explore human impact on the global ocean ecosystem. The contest took place Sept. 25-Nov. 25, and included more than 3,500 students from 40 states. Students painted murals in groups or classrooms and individuals entered artwork depicting a range of marine habitats.

Classroom winners were chosen in three grade categories, K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Winning classrooms included Tanya Robinson’s art students at Del Mar Pines in San Diego, CA (K-4); Dana Etinger’s and Caroline McBride’s art students at Locust Valley Intermediate school in Locust Valley, NY (5-8), and JoAnn Onnembo’s art students at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, NJ (9-12).

“Our ocean is among the world’s greatest treasures,” said Wyland, whose marine life murals are seen by more than 1 billion people around the world every year. “The future of our ocean and coastal waters depends on the support millions of people. Art is a wonderful way to focus our attention on this resource.”


As part of the national “Water Is Life” competition, the Wyland Foundation and its partners provided 100 schools with paint supplies, educational materials, and a 50 square foot canvas and asked students to look at the economic, cultural and aesthetic value of the world’s ocean resources. Additional classes that participated created murals on other surfaces – from sidewalks to school buildings. The contest encouraged students to study ocean issues and work collaboratively. Organizers have announced that the 2015 art challenge theme will be “Our Coasts and Climate.”

For more information and to see the winning images

Winning classes receive $250 for art supplies, signed Wyland artwork, and a chance for a live online painting lesson with Wyland. Wyland hopes that the process of interpreting water-based habitats through art will lead students to a greater understanding of their role as future caretakers of the resource. An individual art contest for grades K-12 was also held concurrently.

The National “Water Is Life” Classroom mural contest was presented in partnership with Fredrix Artist Canvas, Arts & Activities Magazine, National Van Lines, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Toro Company, and Marco Fine Arts.

Source: Wyland Foundation

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